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New Alfa Romeo SUV to be built in American Jeep plants

Fiat SpA announced earlier this year that they were planning on building somewhere in the area of 280,000 Jeep models in their Turin, Italy plant along with a new Alfa Romeo small SUV based on those Jeeps but now rumors suggest that those vehicles will be built at existing Jeep production facilities in the US – including the Alfa models.

When Fiat announced a $1.44 billion investment in the Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, they expected to use that money to prepare the facility to build a new Alfa Romeo sport utility vehicle based on a Jeep model that would also be built there. However, with the Euro gaining roughly 9% on the American Dollar since then, it is less financially attractive to Fiat to build vehicles in Europe and ship them to the US – meaning that the Jeep models intended to see production in Turin will remain in the US and the Alfa Romeo models based on the Jeep will likely also be built in the USA.

No solid announcement has been as to which Jeep model this new Alfa Romeo SUV will be based on but with auto show season quickly approaching, we could soon get a good look at the next chapter of the cooperation between Fiat’s European brands and the Chrysler Group. In addition to the production shift from Italy to the US it not only saves Fiat money on shipping Jeep vehicles to the US but it may also help Alfa Romeo’s rebirth in the North American market. Based on the popularity of smaller vehicles in Europe, the Alfa SUV based on Jeep architecture could be based on a small model such as the current Compass or Patriot.

This leaves the workers at the Mirafiori plant (the company’s oldest production facility) in Turin wondering what the future holds for them and their jobs. Rumors suggest that the plant will be converted using that $1.44 billion investment to build a future subcompact city car expected to help Fiat regain some of the market share that they have lost over the past year to their local competition. Future plans for the Mirafiori plant could be discussed soon as the European labor union leaders are quick to look out for their workers at the Turin plant and a looming shift of production to another country is certainly something that will demand quick attention from a union leader.

Source: The Detroit News

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