TURIN -- Fiat-Chrysler factories in the United States and Serbia could benefit if CEO Sergio Marchionne carries out a threat to move production of new Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep models outside of Italy unless the carmaker gets clear labor rules in Fiat's home market.
Marchionne said on Tuesday that Fiat will put new investments in Italy on hold until it gets a clearer idea of the impact of a court ruling that threatens his attempts to introduce more flexible work conditions at the automaker's Italian factories.
Marchionne's threat may just be a negotiating tactic to pressure the hardline Fiom metal workers union to accept Fiat's new labor contract.
But if he decides to restructure its production, these models could be shifted from Italy, according to sources:
- Alfa Guilia. The mid-sized car could be built in a Chrysler factory in the U.S. The Giulia is due to go into production in 2015 at Cassino in Italy for sales in Europe, China and the United States. Alfa plans annual production of 100,000 sedan and wagon variants of the Guilia. The car would become Alfa's biggest seller, accounting for a third of the brand's total volume.
- Maserati Levante. The SUV is scheduled for production at Fiat's Miafiori plant in Turin, although there has been no official confirmation of this. The Levente will be a sibling to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and could be built at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant in Detroit.
- Jeep B-SUV and Fiat 500. Fiat said last December that it would invest more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to add these small SUVs to its plant in Melfi, central Italy, but the two vehicles could also be built at Fiat's new factory in Serbia, which produces the 500L and has room to add more capacity. Production is scheduled to start in June 2014 with the as-yet-unnamed Jeep variant coming first, followed three months later by the Fiat 500X. The planned annual volume for the Jeep is up to 150,000 units while Fiat's version will account for 130,000, sources said.