Another day, another flip-flop on future product plans over at Casa di Marchionne. The latest news comes from Italian unions, who claim that the Maserati Levante will be built at the Mirafiori plant in Italy, rather than at Jeep’s plant in Detroit.
Fiat will invest $1 billion in the plant and add upscale models from Maserati and Alfa Romeo in exchange for concessions from labor unions such as temporary layoffs. The plant will also undergo a lengthy re-tooling. The shift to Italian production for the Levante isn’t exactly news, but it is a great symbol of how quickly Chrysler-Fiat has been able to turn on a dime when adjusting their rhetoric.
The Detroit production of the Levante was supposed to be symbolic of the union of the two companies and the capability of American manufacturing. But a stumbling car market, overcapacity and an angry workforce in Europe changed that calculus, and suddenly, Marchionne found himself in the position of having to throw a bone to Fiat workers. Moving the Levante to Italy is a rather low stakes move on our shores, but one that will pay dividends back in Italy.