Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
TURIN

Alfa Romeo production set to stay in Italy

English
© ANSA

(By Emily Backus)
Turin, September 16 - Production of Alfa Romeo and
Maserati automobiles will never be transferred from Italy, Fiat
Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said in an interview published
Monday.
The head of the parent company for both premium Italian car
brands explained that the luxury goods cache' of being made in
Italy is too important for both.
"There is not a doubt in my mind that the origin of
production is important to Maserati. I also think it's important
for Alfa," Marchionne told the Financial Times.
"We will never build outside (Italy)...It may well be the
next CEO that makes that call (to build elsewhere). But it's not
me," Marchionne said.
In July Marchionne threatened to have new Alfa Romeo models
produced outside Italy as he complained about industrial
relations in Italy, amid a bitter row with left-wing union FIOM,
which opposes the carmaker's drive to introduce more flexible
work practises at Fiat's Italian plants.
The Fiat Group on September 4 announced a deal with unions
to invest just under one billion euros to retool the loss-making
Mirafiori plant to produce a Maserati SUV and another unnamed
model there.
The plans are part of Fiat's strategy to focus Italian
manufacturing on premium cars, and follow investment in another
plant near Turin to make Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli
models.
Marchionne said Fiat Group's plan to retool Mirafiori means
all workers currently on leave due to production cuts will be
reabsorbed.
"The plan that we have in place in terms of the full
development of the site...is that all the people employed at the
plant will be absorbed," Marchionne said.
The FT reported that the Mirafiori plant is currently
operating at roughly one tenth of the plant's
300,000-car-per-year capacity, with over 5,000 furloughed.
Marchionne confirmed to the FT that the carmaker also
planned to produce another, unnamed model at Mirafiori in
addition to Maserati SUV to optimize production.
"(The investment) buys a full assembly-line and a brand new
product that will compliment the Maserati line-up. I think it is
in desperate need of an SUV," Marchionne told the FT.
Marchionne explained that the investments were already
being lined up for the plant and car surfaces designed for the
new model.
"(Mirafiori) starts making the body in the third quarter of
2014 and the idea is to enter the market in the second quarter
of 2015," Marchionne said.
Meanwhile, sister carmaker Chrysler is planning to file the
documents for its initial public offering (IPO) this week,
Marchionne said in an interview published Monday.
"All the work, all the preparation, drafts have gone
through...we should be ready to file (IPO documents) within the
third week of this month," Marchionne, who is also the CEO of
Chrysler, told the Financial Times.
The IPO comes after the Fiat Group and the VEBA healthcare
trust, which owns the 41.5% of the US automaker that does not
belong to Fiat, failed to agree to a price on VEBA's stake in a
long running dispute.
"We need to go through this process of determining value,"
Marchionne told the FT.
"(The trust) have been very clear that they are not
long-term holders of the assets. They want to monetise, so we
need to find a way for them to exit in a way that...does not
create what I consider to be exceptionally high or abnormal
expectations of value. The market will tell us. Let the market
talk".

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