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Fiat man put in charge of Toledo plant

by David Zatz on

Mauro Pino, head of Fiat’s Termini Imerese facility for three years, has started his new job as head of two Chrysler plants in Toledo. The Termini Imerese plant is slated to close in 2011.

Mr. Pino is the first person to be in charge of both the Toledo North (Liberty/Nitro) and Toledo (Wrangler) plants, which, in the past, had separate managers.

Larry P. Vellequette of the Toledo Blade, who broke the story, said neither Mr. Pino nor Chrysler would comment on the story. The UAW Local 12 Jeep Unit chairman met with Pino briefly, but did not discuss his impressions.

Closure of Mr. Pino’s Fiat plant, which employed 1,500 people, caused an uproar in Italy, where plant closings are rare. The plant was Fiat’s smallest within Italy, and Sergio Marchionne said its location boosted its expenses.

Chrysler appears to be preparing to expand Toledo’s operations. When the Jeep Liberty moves to the widened D-car dimensions, it may be possible to produce both Libertys and cars or crossovers on the same assembly line, allowing both for greater flexibility and greater use of the modern Toledo plant’s full capabilities. Mr. Marchionne has also made it clear that he expects to make more Wrangler variants, though whether these are simple trim packages or trucks like the Scrambler is unclear.

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