Chrysler may soon be building Fiat and Maserati SUVs alongside Jeeps in America, but it seems the Fiat Group may return the favor abroad. Earlier today, Fiat announced $1.3 billion in upgrades for its factory in Turin, Italy, which will allow it to build a number of products -- including small Jeeps -- starting in 2012.
The investment will cover retooling the factory to produce a number of different Alfa Romeo and Jeep models including the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan and station wagon (which will replace the 159), along with a small Alfa Romeo SUV and Jeep SUV. The Jeep SUV is expected to replace the current Compass and Patriot, while Alfa's model will be aimed upmarket, possibly targeting the new BMW X3 and Audi's Q5 crossover.
According to a Fiat spokesman, the plant will begin producing the new models in either the third or fourth quarter of 2012. Adding the new models to the plant's lineup will bring its total output to around 250,000 to 280,000 units per year; half of which are destined for European markets, while the remainder will be exported. We'd imagine many of those exports are headed to the U.S., as the new Alfa models are key to the company's planned rebirth in the U.S.
Presently, Fiat builds the Fiat Idea, Multipla, Punto Classic, the Lancia Musa, and the Alfa Romeo MiTo at the Turin facility. Production of the Multipla and Punto Classic ceases next month, but the Musa and Idea will remain in production until 2012, although their replacements will be produced in Serbia. The MiTo will remain in production in Turinthrough 2014, although it's unknown where its successor will be assembled.
Fiat's investment in its Turin plant is part of its larger $26 billion investment program to improve factories and vehicle development. The investment program is part of a deal with its Italian unions in exchange for concessions on work rules.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)