Fiat's factory in Tychy - which builds the 500 and the Lancia/Chrysler Yypsilon and Ford's Ka which share the platform and some parts - suspended production last Friday and will not assemble cars this week, the Polish News Bulletin reported, citing the ekonomia24.pl news service.

Similar production breaks are expected to happen at General Motors Europe's Opel/Vauxhall plant in Gliwice which builds the Astra three-door and other models, the reports added.

The cut is due to drop in car sales in western Europe; the Tychy factory exports 98% of output, mostly to Europe.

Since the beginning of the year, Fiat sales in the EU have shrunk 17% and, in Italy alone, new passenger car registrations slid 19.9% in the first eight months of 2012.

Tychy is said to be the best of all production plants of Fiat group; however, this has not prevented the transfer of production of the Panda model to Italy which has been negatively affecting the results of the plant, the Bulletin noted.