Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has today plunged to a first-quarter loss of $1.8 billion and scrapped its full-year earnings forecast.

The car maker is grappling with a coronavirus crisis that has hammered production and sales. 

The Italian-American company, which has struck a binding merger deal with France's PSA Group to create the world's fourth largest carmaker, said it remained committed to the tie-up, despite "unexpected and unprecedented times". 

"Together, we continue to push ahead on the various merger workstreams and we remain committed to completing the transaction by the end of this year or early 2021," it said. 

FCA said it made a net loss from continuing operations of €1.69 billion in the first quarter of this year. That compared with a €508m net profit a year earlier. 

"The pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on our operations," the company said in a statement. 

However, FCA still made an operating profit, albeit 95% lower than a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to €52m. 

The car maker said that due to the continued uncertainty related to the pandemic, it had withdrawn its full-year guidance and would update it when it had better visibility of the overall impact of the crisis. 

In February, the group guided for an increase in adjusted EBIT to more than €7 billion this year and industrial free cash flow of over €2 billion. 

In the first quarter, industrial free cash flow was around -€5 billion. But FCA said it had available liquidity of €18.6 billion as of March 31, including a €6.25 billion revolving credit facility which was fully drawn down in April.

Liquidity was further strengthened last month with a new €3.5 billion incremental bridge credit facility, which remains fully undrawn.

"We continue to assess all funding options," FCA said.