Fiat will invest 1 billion euros to build subcompact SUVs in Italy

Article by Christian A., on December 24, 2012

Fiat is investing over 1 billion euros, or $1.3 billion, to produce subcompact SUVs for the Fiat and Jeep brands in Italy. Fiat is relying on this move to increase capacity usage and cut losses in Europe by concentrating on high-margin cars. At the plant in Melfi, southern Italy, which is where the models will be assembled, CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the company has made the decision to move away from mass carmaking and join the upscale market.

The CEO added that this is the only plant in the world to build a new small SUV for Jeep. Marchionne is planning to increase the sales of its costlier models to stimulate Fiat's European operations, which are predicted to incur losses of 700 million euros this year.

In addition, Fiat is also under political pressure at home due to criticism that its European arm is now struggling since it focused too much time on managing its takeover of Chrysler Group. Fiat Chairman John Elkann has a contrasting opinion. Elkann released a statement to say that Fiat's alliance with Chrysler “took something away from Italy.” He said that without this alliance, the Melfi investment won’t have been a possibility.

Fiat wants to launch 19 Italy-built models through 2016, including nine Alfa Romeo-badged vehicles and six Maseratis. The carmaker plans to increase production of Fiat and Chrysler cars in Europe to 2 million cars annually in 2016 from 1.25 million in 2012.

Marchionne thinks that by using Fiat's Italian factories to export cars worldwide, the automaker's European operations will go back to an operating breakeven by 2015-2106. Difficulties in Europe forced the manufacturer to reduce its 2014 trading-profit target by 31% to 5.2 billion euros.

The latest 500X embodies a fresh dimension of the distinct 500. The iconic design was retained but the car was given a contemporary edge. The car’s off-road competence was added with an impeccable performance when it comes to outdoor pursuits. The latest model is designed by the Centro Stile Fiat.

Style and dimensions

The new model is a casual and enjoyable automobile that is great for daily use. It features a lenient profile that provides easy movement. The car is guaranteed to represent its owner’s personality with the range of customization options it offers. Its refined system is intended for comfort, on-board convenience and safety. The 500X’s range of premium fabrics and materials, ample interior space and compact dimensions all convey quality, rationality and flexibility.

The car’s length is 4.25 meters—plus 2 centimeters for the leisure version; its width is 1.8 meters; while its height is 1.60 meters. The car’s height is 1.61 meters with the roof bars and 1.62 meters with the four-wheel drive.

These dimensions make the 500X perfect to those customers who deal with daily traffic in the city. The firm and tough look of the vehicle is matched with its harmonious lines. The new model’s characteristics are best for users who are searching for the comfort, space and equipment distinctive of a compact saloon.

The compact exterior of the new 500X is paired with a warm and welcoming interior. A number of useful storage compartments make the interior spacious while the extensive use of premium materials and finishes creates the protective environment inside. The distinctively Italian passenger compartment is offered in over seven interior configurations which include a range of fabrics, finishes, leather and colors.

A maximum range of capabilities is guaranteed by the seat adjustment options and the roomy luggage compartment (350 liters).

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