The initial results of Fiat's action to have its Italian plant concentrate on producing on higher-margin brands and build vehicles for export are encouraging, company chairman John Elkann and chief executive Sergio Marchionne told employees. Elkann and Marchionne said that Fiat had commenced a series of investments that will continue in the coming months and years to deal with a slumping European car market.
Fiat is planning to have its underutilized Italian sites build Jeeps and other group brands for export, increasingly depending on overseas sales to offset slumping demand in its home country Italy and keep workers in their jobs. "The first signs that come to us from the Maserati Giovanni Agnelli plant in Grugliasco are very positive and encourage us to continue on this path," Elkann and Marchionne said in the letter.
The Grugliasco site builds two Maserati models -- the Quattroporte and the Ghibli. In the past, Fiat has disclosed investments for some individual plants.
The carmaker is set to unveil in April 2014 a new industrial plan outlining its overall spending strategy and models. Elkann and Marchionne said they still expect 2014 to be challenging, but said that the carmaker can achieve the goals they have set.
Fiat has said it intends to breakeven in Europe by 2016. Alfredo Altavilla, Fiat's Europe chief, said earlier this week that the carmaker would introduce a "certain number" of new models to the market in 2014 to take advantage of a recovery when it happens. The new models will include the new Jeep and a new Fiat 500X, which could be available in more than one version.