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FCA moving Fiat production out of Italy, building SUVs there instead

The Fiat lineup will reportedly be slashed so FCA can focus on more profitable Jeep and Maserati SUVs.

Fiat Panda City Cross

This Fiat Panda City Cross could soon be built in Poland rather than Italy.


A big change is in store for Fiat's Italian factories. According to Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is soon set to announce a plan to move Fiat production out of Italy, and instead build Maserati and Jeep SUVs there. The change is expected to be confirmed at a June 1 FCA presentation.

The basic idea is to build small, affordable cars with low profit margins in countries with lower wage schedules. Specifically, Bloomberg says that assembly of the Fiat Panda will move from the Pomigliano plant near Naples, Italy, to Poland. Instead, FCA will start building "a small Jeep" at the Naples plant. That could be the Renegade, which is already put together at the company's Melfi plant in Italy, or a new model.

Meanwhile the Fiat Punto and Alfa Romeo Mito would be killed entirely. Capacity freed up at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin by canceling the Mito would be used to starting building another Maserati SUV alongside the Levante. Maserati hasn't yet given any hints about what a second SUV would look like. Fiat opened the historic Mirafiori plant in 1939.

FCA will apparently chop the Fiat brand down to just the 500 and the not-sold-in-America Panda, while prioritizing the SUV segment that's making money for all automakers globally. In its first-quarter 2018 press release, FCA noted that Fiat and Alfa Romeo sales in Europe were down nine and 15 percent, respectively -- while Jeep sales rose 42 percent.

At the June 1 presentation, FCA is also expected to announce it will stop building diesel passenger cars worldwide by 2022.