We’ve been learning about Fiat’s grand product plans for both the Chrysler and Fiat Groups since the Italian company took over management of Chrysler in 2009. Around 18 months after the management takeover, we’ve learned more about the product plans, including Fiat’s plan to build 280,000 Jeep and Alfa Romeo compact SUVs at its plant in Turin, Italy.
The news of SUV production comes after Fiat reached an agreement with the Italian labor union to maintain production at the Turin facility. This will require the Italian automaker to invest some $1.8 billion in the plant for retooling to build the aforementioned SUVs.
According to sources, both the Jeep and Alfa Romeo SUVs will ride on Fiat’s Compact Wide Platform that underpins the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The two SUVs will however be aimed at completely different buyers. Fiat intends to position the Alfa SUV as a compact, luxury crossover, competing against the likes of BMW’s X1. The Jeep on the other hand, will replace the Compass and Patriot and be more of an entry-level vehicle. Fiat and Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed reports of the two new vehicles to Autocar, saying that both vehicles’ styling has been well received in customer clinics.
We’d previously learned about Alfa’s SUV plan, which will be a crucial part of the company’s U.S. relaunch. This compact SUV, along with a mid-size SUV, will reportedly make their way to the U.S. in early 2013. Jeep’s Compass replacement should make its way Stateside with its Alfa sister SUV in the same time frame.
Production of the two SUVs is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, where the Alfa Romeo MiTo, Fiat Idea, and Lancia Musa are currently built. Of the 280,000 compact SUVs produced each year 150,000 will be Jeeps and at least 100,000 will be Alfas -- with around half being exported to the U.S.