Fiat may shift Alfa Romeo output out of Italy

Article by Anita Panait, on July 12, 2013

Fiat may shift output of its Alfa Romeo models to outside of Italy if it cannot get clear labor rules in the country. Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne remarked that Italy should decide whether they want "it to happen in this environment or not" since Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives. Marchionne said Fiat will freeze new investments in Italy until it gets a clearer idea of the impact of a court decision that says a part of the country's labor rules are unconstitutional.

Fiat has poured investments at some of its sites in Italy since 2010 in return for concessions from labor unions for more flexible work conditions. The metalworkers' union Fiom, however, did not support the new agreement, and commenced legal actions against Fiat. Italy's constitutional court eventually issued a ruling last week saying that a clause in the country's labor law from the 1970s that allows Fiat to prevent the Fiom from representing its workers violated the constitution.

Marchionne remarked that Fiat "needs clear and reliable rules" before investing in more projects in Italy. Fiat is increasing output of upscale models in Europe, including Alfa Romeos and new Maserati models, as part of its bid to end its losses in the region by 2016. Fiat posted over EUR700 million ($894 million) in losses in Europe in 2012.

Thanks to strong profits at its Chrysler unit, the Italian carmaker avoided losing over EUR1 billion in 2012. Marchionne remarked that he was open to talks with Fiom leader Maurizio Landini to discuss what measures could be taken. Marchionne has requested the Italian government to recommend a solution for the uncertainty caused by the court decision. He remarked that despite the shift, the re-launch of Alfa Romeo "will continue for sure."

Alfa Romeo revealed that three factors continue to have a large role under the 2014 Giulietta. These are new engines, a refreshed style, and more technological features fitted inside.

Customers will be delighted to know that the 2014 model year will feature for the first time the 2.0-liter JTDM engine capable of 150 hp. This engine will be fitted with the second generation of the Multi-Jet injection system allowing engine combustion to be optimized regardless of the operating conditions. The injection system helps lower fuel consumption and even reduces noise.

However, the defining feature of this engine is the Common Rail injection system, which is the third generation of its kind. With the use of highly advanced injectors, it makes it possible to control how much diesel, with the utmost precision, is injected to the combustion chamber. It does in a flexible and quick injection system resulting from a balanced hydraulic servo valve.

Further, because the engine makes use of a small-sized turbocharger, it can deliver the segment’s highest torque even at low rpm. Peak torque is measured at 380 Nm and available at 1,750 rpm. The turbocharger also ensures maximum flexibility when running. Going back to the injection system, it allows for a maximum of eight injections for every stroke especially when combined with strategies aimed at optimizing the increasingly advanced combustion. A good example of this is the Injection Rate Shaping system, or IRS system.

What it does is perform two consecutive injections but since it does so with as little time as possible, it results in the cylinders getting a modulated and continuous fuel supply. This also enhances the combustion process which not only results in a less noisy operation but lower any particulate emissions and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The new injection system is even more reliable and simpler.

This is because the injectors use 40% fewer parts giving then simpler structure. Alfa Romeo projects that the 2014 Giulietta will consolidate the outstanding sales performance of this model so far. Since the miod-2010 and up to the present, it is estimated that at least 212,000 units have been sold around the world.

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