Fiat Group has dropped the idea of shutting down its Mirafiori plant in Turin, and is mulling building two new, small sports utility vehicles at its Melfi factory, according to report by Italian daily Il Messaggero. Earlier reports say these two SUVs headed for the Melfi plant will be Fiat and Jeep brands. Fiat plans to focus its new business plan around ways to increase Italian output for export, Il Messaggero said, citing details of the plan that the carmaker is expected to present on Oct. 30, 2012. Fiat will be holding crucial discussions on Sunday and Monday to decide on future output allocations in Italy. According to Il Messaggero, a closure of the historic Mirafiori plant, which is located near Fiat's Turin headquarters, would have cut the carmaker’s losses for 2012.
On the other hand, Fiat’s plans to boost its exports may entail having its Cassino plant build the Chrysler 100 model, which is set to replace the Lancia Delta and is targeted mostly towards the U.S. market. The Cassino plant is also set to produce the next generation Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which will also be exported to the US.
According to Il Messaggero, Fiat will announce that it expects the crisis it is facing would be long and difficult. The carmakers’ sales in Europe have dived to their lowest level since the 1970s as carmakers in the continent continue to suffer from excessive production capacity and dwindling demand. According to the industry organization ACEA, Fiat Group posted a 16.8-percent drop in sales in the EU and EFTA markets in the last nine months, larger than the overall decline in the region at 7.2 percent.