Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne asserted that the Italian carmaker will not shut down any of its six domestic plants despite a declining local auto market. According to Italian daily La Repubblica, Marchionne confirmed that the carmaker was committed to maintaining operations in Italy. He told the daily that he never talked about plant closures and that he never said that he wanted to leave Italy. Fiat’s CEO likewise defended his decision to delay the carmaker’s Italian investment on new vehicle models. Marchionne told La Repubblica that it was a huge responsibility to make those decisions. According to Fiat’s CEO, the carmaker invested EUR1 billion ($1.3 billion) to open a second production plant in Turin, Italy, which is now building new high-end Maseratis.
Marchionne also disclosed that the carmaker invested EUR800 million on its plant near Naples. Marchionne’s recent statement came as he was direly pressed to disclose details of the Fiat's strategy in Italy. The current economic recession has sparked concerns over possible job losses at the Italian carmaker. Italy’s industry and labor ministers have remarked that they wanted to meet Marchionne to discuss the matter.
Marchionne, who also serves as chief executive of Fiat’s Italian subsidiary Chrysler Group, told La Repubblica that the carmaker had invested EUR800 million to develop a new version of its Panda minicar. Fiat’s top honcho, however, remarked that the new version of the Panda minicar is not selling because there is no market. Fiat has been implementing temporary production stoppage as its factories in order to cope with declining vehicle sales. The carmaker is expected is continue the move every once in a while throughout the third and fourth quarters, union sources told Reuters last week.