Sources said that details will soon be announced by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne about the start of production of Fiat and Jeep SUV models at its Melfi, southern Italy plant. The sources added that Fiat will proceed with the projects even with the possible political instability in Italy after the country's Prime Minister, Mario Monti, revealed his plan to resign last weekend.
It’s believed that Marchionne will talk about information about the initial spending at the Melfi plant as early as next week. Automotive News Europe sources said that Fiat is planning to produce the 500X, which is the replacement for the current Fiat Sedici small crossover at Melfi beside a "baby" Jeep Wrangler for European and U.S. markets.
Marchionne is planning to increase sales of its pricier models to turn around Fiat's European operations, which are predicted to incur 700 million euros ($913 million) in losses this year. It drove the manufacturer to reduce its 2014 trading-profit target by 31% to 5.2 billion euros. The CEO aims to introduce 19 models through 2016 that will be built in Italy, which include nine Alfa Romeo-badged vehicles and six Maseratis.
Fifteen of the new vehicles will be built to be exported outside the region and to be sold in Europe. Fiat and Chrysler are planning to invest up to 18 billion euros in the next couple of years, primarily to develop new models in Europe, according to an investor presentation on Oct. 30. Fiat estimates that it will break even in Europe in 2015 at the earliest as it takes on the higher-priced vehicle strategy.