Fiat may have to shut down two facilities in Italy due to the weak auto demand in Europe if the plans for exporting to the United States market do not materialize, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne. He added that Chrysler plants in the U.S. were already operating at full capacity. He also disclosed that facilities in Canada, Europe or Mexico are required to fill a third of the demand in the U.S.
This means that the Italian sites of Fiat had the chance to export to the U.S., he informed Italian daily Corriere della Sera in the interview. Marchionne told the paper that all the facilities will "remain where they are," but it will have to withdraw from two of the five facilities in Italy if the exporting to the U.S. will not happen.
The CEO also said that the new labor agreement of Fiat provides the automaker's facilities in Italy the adequate competitiveness to export to the U.S. He did not identify the two facilities concerned. Fiat also declined to provide a comment to Automotive News Europe. According to Automotive News Europe sources, however, the plants of Fiat in Cassino, Central Italy, and Mirafiori, Turin, may be at risk.
The Mirafiori plant manufactures the Fiat Punto, Lancia Musa and Alfa Romeo MiTo. It has a capacity of 200,000 units. The facility is set to manufacture a new compact Jeep beginning in 2014. Dubbed B-SUV, this new Jeep will be sold in Europe and the U.S., among other markets.
On the other hand, the Cassino facility has an annual capacity of 300,000 units. It produces the Fiat Bravo, the Lancia Delta and the Alfa Giulietta compact vehicles. The next-generation Giulietta is planned to be exported to the U.S., allowing the Cassino factory the additional volume required to remain open.