AS GM CUTS IN US, FIAT CHRYSLER IN­VESTS IN ITAL­IAN PLANTS

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Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles said this week that its plants in Italy would re­turn to full em­ploy­ment with a 5 bil­lion-euro ($5.7 bil­lion) in­vest­ment in new cars and en­gine tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing a fully elec­tric ver­sion of the 500 city car and a plug-in hy­brid Alfa Romeo com­pact util­ity ve­hi­cle.

In a plan that con­trasts with Gen­eral Mo­tor’s an­nounce­ment this week of deep cuts in North Amer­ica, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Man­ley said the com­pany would launch 13 all-new or restyled mod­els from 2019 to 2021, while also de­vel­op­ing hy­brid and fully elec­tric en­gine tech­nol­ogy.

Man­ley dis­closed the plans to Ital­ian unions, which have been seek­ing re­as­sur­ances for Italy’s un­der-uti­lized plants since a new five-year strat­egy was an­nounced in June.

“It is a coura­geous plan in a dif­fi­cult con­text, in which, for ex­am­ple, the U.S. au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing its work­force,” said the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Uilm met­al­work­ers’ union, Rocco Palombella.

The all-elec­tric 500 will be built in Mi­rafiori, in Turin, while the Alfa Romeo util­ity ve­hi­cle will be built in Pomigliano, near Naples, along with a mild-hy­brid ver­sion of the com­pact Panda.

The com­pany will also add pro­duc­tion of a hy­brid plug-in Jeep Rene­gade and a Eu­ro­pean ver­sion of the Jeep Com­pass to its plant in Melfi in the south of Italy.

Union of­fi­cials said Fiat also an­nounced that it would de­lay plans to stop pro­duc­tion of diesel en­gines, in­stead launch­ing pro­duc­tion of an up­dated diesel en­gine at its plan in Pra­tola Serra, near Naples.

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