Fiat Confirms Italian Built Exports As CAW Deal Expected Today

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
fiat confirms italian built exports as caw deal expected today

With a CAW labor contract expected to be announced today, Fiat has confirmed that cars built in Italy will be exported to markets like the United States, as Fiat looks beyond its ailing home market for growth.

While specific model plans for the exports weren’t announced, the rumor mill has included everything from domestic Fiat models to Chryslers and unreleased compact Jeeps. Reuters reports that Fiat plants in Italy are running at around 50 percent capacity, well below the 75 percent needed for a plant to make economic sense. On the other hand, Chrysler plants in North America are running at full capacity. TTAC readers with experience in automobile manufacturing – I know you’re out there – please lend us your expertise on this matter. Would Chrysler be able to take a plant making Fiat Pandas and tool it up for Chrysler LX cars in a relatively short time frame?

Meanwhile on our shores, the CAW and Chrysler are apparently close to a deal, with CAW President Ken Lewenza telling The Globe and Mail

“I absolutely think it’s possible…There’s still some very, very minor issues around the pattern that have to be dealt with. We’re going to keep working at it over the course of the day.”

Given Chrysler’s tough talk, and the insistence of industry experts that an agreement between the two sides would have to follow the “pattern” set by Ford and GM (much to the displeasure of Chrysler), the agreement, when announced, is going to be very interesting – but not as interesting as what Sergio will decide to do afterwards.

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  • Vcficus Vcficus on Sep 26, 2012

    Fiat buit the 500 in Toluca MX where the Journey was the only product previously... I think it took about a year; to make any money you need to locally source the chemical adhesives and sealers which have a short shelf life (don't want them curing on the way to the new plant!) and any components you don't have capacity for at home (or don't want to pay import duties on). Surprisingly the Journey as the Fiat Freemont is the one US model selling well in Europe... over 30,000 so far this year. I agree the CUSW models would be the easiest to slot in but I'm still not sure how much sense this makes. By the time Italy is cranking out Darts or Libertys to export here their sales may have dropped enough not to matter. The real capacity issue Chrysler has is Grand Cherokees and Wranglers, neither of which makes sense overseas. Good bargaining chip though.

    • Ranwhenparked Ranwhenparked on Sep 26, 2012

      That is surprising. I haven't heard much about the Journey/Freemont at all, but nice to hear FiatChrysler has a sort of stealth hit on their hands. Never would have guessed it would work that well in Europe.

  • Abgwin Abgwin on Sep 26, 2012

    Actually, the PT Cruiser was built in Toluca before Journey, and the Neon before that.

  • Gentle Ted Gentle Ted on Sep 26, 2012

    Why Not? The World is getting smaller now and Chrysler is now just a small part of the FIAT Empire, people in those USA places will have to get used to this,wont they?

    • See 2 previous
    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Sep 26, 2012

      Yes, They will. I wonder when the Vans will be introduced?

  • Speed3 Speed3 on Sep 26, 2012

    I hope Sergie gives the CAW the middle finger. Move production out of Canada AND Italy to Mexico and Eastern Europe. He's in it for the long game and that is what will eventually happen unless the Unions cooperate and give into more globally competative labor practices.