Europe's automakers are calling for immediate support from the European Union and member states after suffering a production loss that could render companies short of cash in just weeks.
Industry association ACEA demanded "strong and coordinate action" to aid manufacturers, their suppliers and dealers who all face a "severe" financial hit.
"The effect of the coronavirus on the automobile industry is unprecedented," ACEA Director General Eric-Mark Huitema said in a statement. "It is becoming increasingly clear that Covid-19 has led to the worst crisis ever to impact the automotive sector."
EU-wide production losses from factory shutdowns amount to 1.23 million vehicles so far, with some 1.11 million workers affected, not including the supply chain, ACEA said. The wider sector provides jobs for 13.8 million people across the European Union, ACEA said.
Huitema spoke of "grave consequences" for the industry going far beyond what can currently be forecast.
As a result, he said an urgent dialogue was needed with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
"Firstly, to take concrete measures to avoid irreversible and fundamental damage to the sector with a permanent loss of jobs, capacity, innovation and research capability," he said. "Secondly, we believe that Europe should prepare to stimulate the recovery of our sector, which will be a key contributor to the accelerated recovery of the European economy at large."
Recently, the ACEA together with the European industry associations for suppliers, dealers and tire makers, wrote that "several companies could face (cash) shortages within a matter of weeks" and called on the EU to delay compliance of important regulatory targets as the crisis has presented unforeseen obstacles.
"We believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws," the organizations said in a statement.
Reuters contributed to this report