Starting in 2012, Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler Group LLC will produce 280,000 compact SUVs annually for the Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands as part of a new joint-venture company that will operate at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin.
Last Thursday, Fiat gave its approval to spend about 1.3 billion euros ($1.78 billion) for the retooling of the factory that would build the first SUV in Alfa's 101-year history and a Jeep model that will replace the Compass/Patriot.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts on Jan. 27 that production will begin in the third or fourth quarter of 2012.
A Fiat spokesman said that the Alfa SUV will rival the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. Marchionne added that the Mirafiori will be the only manufacturing location for the new Jeep.
He also said that in recent customer clinics, the styling models of both SUVs scored well. Of the 280,000 SUVs to be made in Turin, half will be sold in Europe and the other half will be exported, primarily to North America.
The brand's North American relaunch is expected to take place in 2012 or early 2013 but what’s certain is that the Alfa models would play a vital part. Presently, Jeep aims to take about 150,000 units a year while Alfa will get 100,000 to 130,000 SUVs. A Fiat spokesman calls these volume expectations as “preliminary estimates.” [via autonews - sub. required]