A new report confirms previous rumors that the Maserati Levante SUV will be built in Italy, rather than in Michigan as initially planned. Certain reports suggest that Fiat will invest about 1 billion euros in its factory from Torino, Italy, to build the Maserati Levante, as part of a bid to appease its Italian workforce.
The investment in the plant implies that Fiat will add upscale models from Maserati in exchange for concessions from labor unions such as temporary layoffs. The plant will also go through a lengthy re-tooling and a period of re-designing. The shift to Italian production for the Levante isn’t neccesarily unexpected news.
The Levante SUV was due for production at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, but Marchionne stated early this year the vehicle would be built at Mirafiori. The automaker said it will "immediately" start the investments at the Torino factory.
Fiat is reportedly desperate to build more cars in Italy, because the automaker had to lay off more than 5000 workers over the past half a decade. Despite this, Fiat has publicly committed to rehiring all of its former employees in the next three years and get production going to previous levels. One possible production increase move would be the addition of an Alfa Romeo SUV based on the Maserati and Jeep. Although so far this has not been approved for production, there are reasonable chances we might see it in the years to come.
During the last 11 months, the carmaker has invested or earmarked, about €3 billion ($3.96 billion) to retool three other plants, such as Melfi where it will make a small SUV for the Fiat and Chrysler Jeep brands. The Turin move is seen by many as a big gamble for Fiat. Will it pay off? Only time will tell.
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