Source: Automotive News Europe, 2021-10-11
Stellantis plans to retool its factory in Turin, Italy, into an electric-vehicle hub, transferring production of two Maserati models to the Mirafiori plant.
The move is intended to increase efficiency and safeguard jobs as the automaker shifts to selling more electric vehicles.
Stellantis will assign Mirafiori a new electrified platform to build Maserati sedans between 2022 and 2024, making the factory, where the automaker already produces the Fiat New 500 battery-electric minicar, the group's centre for electrification in Italy.
The Mirafiori factory is the historic centre of Fiat, employing some 50,000 workers in its heyday in the 1970s when it used to produce more than 600,000 cars a year.
The plant currently builds the Maserati Levante SUV as well as the Fiat New 500.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 9 October reported that Stellantis could increase production of the combustion-engine Fiat 500 at Mirafiori by moving some volumes there from Tychy, Poland.
At Mirafiori, Stellantis will have one manufacturing process to make combustion engines, hybrids, and electric powertrains.
Stellantis, which was formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot Citroën earlier in 2021, will build the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans at Mirafiori, shifting from the nearby site of Grugliasco.
One of the first actions will be to create a new electrified platform specific for Maserati, Stellantis said.
"Stellantis is working with determination and alacrity to anticipate and prepare for the energy transition of all its Italian industrial sites," the company said in a statement on 11 October.
The goal is to improve performance at the plants "to give this country a strategic role among the group’s main domestic European markets," Stellantis said.
Future production of the New 500 is also confirmed in Turin, the automaker said, after presenting its plan in Rome to the industry and labor ministers and unions.
All 1,100 workers and functions in Grugliasco will move to Mirafiori by 2024 with no overall impact on jobs in the area, Stellantis said without giving details about what happens to the Grugliasco site after that date. Assembly operations will move immediately.
Grugliasco is 4 km (2.5 miles) from Mirafiori. Its workers have often moved between the two sites based on production needs.
The decision marks the end of full car manufacturing at the Grugliasco plant less than a decade after it started production of Maserati cars.
Stellantis said it will allocate more electrification-related activities to Mirafiori.
Stellantis' production in Italy has been under scrutiny for costing more than elsewhere in Europe.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told Italian unions in February that production costs at Fiat's factories in Italy were up to four times more than at PSA's plants in France or Spain for a similar model, mainly because of lower-than-expected sales rather than high labor costs.
In June, the automaker decided to reorganise output at the Melfi plant in southern Italy, its largest facility in the country, on a single enhanced line that will merge two existing ones with unchanged capacity. It will build four medium-segment electric vehicles, for different brands, starting in 2024.
The company said in July it would build one of its three European battery factories in Italy, at the Termoli site, 300 km east of Rome. The plant currently makes internal combustion engines.
Italy's Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said in a statement that there was an ongoing "huge effort" to support the Termoli gigafactory initiative with public funds.
Italy's government has sought assurances from Stellantis that Italy will remain one of the main countries where it builds cars as the EV shift jeopardises thousands of manufacturing jobs.
Stellantis last month finalised plans for Daimler to join its European battery venture.