Fiat Auto will scale down assembly activities at its main Mirafiori plant but said it has no plans to close it completely.
Of Mirafiori's five current lines, the one dedicated to the Fiat Panda will be closed at end of the year, when production of the 22-year-old model ends.
Mirafiori is located at the south edge of Turin, Italy. Fiat also has another plant, Rivalta, 7.5km east of Mirafiori.
Fiat considers both plants to be a single manufacturing complex.
Rivalta closed its final assembly lines at the end of 2001. They were dedicated to the Lancia Lybra sedan and station wagon, the Lancia Thesis and the Alfa Romeo 166.
Only body-in-white production of these four vehicles remains in a portion of Rivalta that Fiat sold to a supplier, Stola Group, two years ago. Stola created a new company, TurinAuto, to take over these activities.
Mirafiori's remaining four lines will continue to work for the foreseeable future.
* The Fiat Marea sedan and station wagon line will also carry out final assembly of the Lancia Lybra. By 2005, this line will build Fiat's 'New Large' car and the Lybra replacement. Both models will be based on Fiat partner General Motors' Epsilon platform.
* The Fiat Multipla line will be maintained. The Multipla will undergo a major restyling in 2004, a year earlier than original plans.
* The Fiat Punto line will be modified so it can also produce the B-MPV planned for 2004. The B-MPV is a compact minivan based on the current Punto platform.
* One assembly line will build both the Alfa Romeo 166 and the Lancia Thesis. After many delays, the Thesis is finally due on sale in September.
According to union officials, Mirafiori and Rivalta together built 568,000 units in 1997. That declined to 374,379 units in 2001 and will fall to 306,000 units this year.
By ending final assembly at Rivalta, Fiat said it increased capacity utilization at its Italian plants from 70 percent to 79 percent. The scaling down at Mirafiori will increase capacity utilization to almost 90 percent.
The Mirafiori and Rivalta work force will be reduced from the current 9,900 to 8,000 with a layoff program costing 16 million.
Fiat said closing Rivalta's final assembly lines and scaling down Mirafiori will save an estimated 80 million a year.