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Fiat will produce new Jeep, Fiat at Melfi plant

by Bill Cawthon on

With Italian Prime Minister Mario Monte watching, Fiat Group Chairman John Elkann and Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced plans to build a new Jeep and a new Fiat at the plant in Melfi, Italy. Production will begin in 2014.

Following an investment of more than $1.3 billion, Melfi will be one of the most advanced assembly plants in the world. The changes and improvements have already begun.

Those upgrades include modifications to accommodate the new modular Small Wide platform that easily be adapted to produce larger vehicles. The platform is already compliant with U.S. standards meaning that vehicles produced at the Melfi plant will be export ready without for further modifications.

The first of the two new models will be a Jeep that marks the brand’s entrance into a new market segment. Melfi will be the only plant in the world to produce this model, which will be sold worldwide. Melfi will also build the 500X, which is larger, more spacious and more capable than the 500L launched three months ago.

Once the plant upgrades are complete, Melfi will have increased flexibility with the ability to produce up to four different models on the same assembly line.

Total production capacity based on three shifts will be 1,600 vehicles per day

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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