In a bid to fill some of its empty Italian production capacity, Fiat plans to build a pair of small SUVs at its plant in Melfi starting in 2014, according to Automotive News Europe. With most Chrysler plants running at or near full capacity, the Melfi facility will probably build the new Fiat and Jeep SUVs for export to North America. The final decision could come as soon as this weekend. The new small Jeep is expected to replace the Patriot and/or Compass, which are both produced in Chrysler's Belvidere, Illinois plant.

Automotive News says Fiat sales are at their lowest since the 1970s, and the European auto market as a whole is expected to see its biggest decline since 1993. Exporting a potentially popular model like a new small SUV could help Fiat's bottom line, and the report indicates (from an unnamed source) that Fiat hopes the Italian government will reduce its corporate taxes on exported vehicles, which would make such a move even more beneficial. In addition to these new Fiat and Jeep SUVs, the upcoming Chrysler 100 hatchback could also be built in Italy at Fiat's Cassino plant.


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  • 37 Comments
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      NO comparable Jeep or competitive product is built here. This has nothing to do with the bailout money. Fiat and Chrysler have spent billions in the USA at the Toledo Ohio facilities, at the Sterling Heights facilities, the Jefferson Avenue facilities, Dundee engine factory, Kokomo transmission factory and even in downtown Detroit. Furthermore American, Canadian and Mexican Chrysler products are being sold in Europe and Brasil.
      Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      Makes sense. If i remember correctly, the new Jeep model is supposed to be based on the Fiat Panda anyway, so I pretty much expected them to be built side by side.
      Teleny411
      • 2 Years Ago
      This looks like a good thing for Chrysler. Fiat management, & technology have already turned Chrysler around. I'm looking forward to seeing these vehicles!
      Manuele Corradi
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love read this kind of bullshit. I discovered tha Obama Money comes in Italy, oh my good this is new for me. In Italy most of people thinks that Italian public money went to US to save your jobs and your facilities. At least I could think that Fiat and Chraysler should build the cars In US and in Italy, just because they have used Italian and US public money... and not in Serbia china mexico
      Eu_Driver
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey American friends... have you already forgotten that Chrysler was "bailouted" not through your so-called "taxpayer" money (it was, instead, a "shylock-rate" loan, totally repaid by Fiat years ahead schedule.... so, in the end, is Fiat money that "bailouted" Chrysler....) but, first of all, by Fiat investments and transfers of technology and hard management work? Moreover, this has "provoked" the total "starving" of investments and total lack of attention to European markets and plants, in particular in Italy. So, the fact that a "small Jeep" (previously even "unthinkable"), based on a Fiat platform, can be produced in a plant that will have his "bread and butter model" (the new Punto, a B-segment car absolutely "central" for Europe) delayed "after the 2015" (the present Punto is completely obsolescent and uncompetitive) because all the money went to U.S. for your new products is....., I would say, a very limited (and still insufficient) "COMPENSATION".... Italian workers and stakeholders cannot simply "die" to satisfy the ego of few American chauvinists..... In Italy, for the reasons aforesaid, people are very angry (and with VERY GOOD reasons) with Marchionne... So, please..... stop being so selfish and hypocritical, PLEASE....-_-
        AngeloD
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eu_Driver
        Cry me a river for the poor waifs at FIAT. FIAT was handed Chrysler for free, it didn't cost them a penny for such assets as Jeep, RAM trucks, some of the most modern production plants in the world including Toledo North, and fully realized designs like the Pentastar engine family, new Grand Cherokee, etc. Maybe FIAT could return the $2 Billion that they fleeced GM out of in order to get out of their merger.
          Eu_Driver
          • 2 Years Ago
          @AngeloD
          Dear Angelo, I really care very little about high-end "games" between corporations. I'm more focused on the consequences on workers and clients (stakeholders). I'm not a shareholder of Fiat and I'm not interested into becoming one... I don't "cheer" Marchionne, I recognize him as a skillfull financial manager.... but recently, in Italy, he's behaving with very little "social accountability" and he let the product offered by Fiat in EU become obsolescent (apart of Panda and Alfa Giulietta) and not-so competitive (to put it midly), especially compared to VW but also PSA and Renault- Nissan. The workers in the automotive sector in Italy in particular are expreiencing hardship, also if they are still in better conditions than unemployed people or Greek and Spain fellows citizens... And this is a consequence of a crisis born in the U.S.A. mortgage sector..... also if POLITICIANS in these countries share a good piece of responsability (theft and wastage of public money in particular). Sorry If I sound too rough.....
        ss1591
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eu_Driver
        Eu_Driver, Fiat was given Chrysler on certain conditions including a high interest loan (Fiat could have gotten their own loan at lower interest) and yes Fiat paid it back early, something any good businessman would have done. Fiat will be making a serious mistake trying to build Jeep products in Italy and shipping them back to America. I am not being selfish if I choose not to buy an imported Jeep, if I wanted to buy an Import then why buy a car line that has not yet proven it's quality or durability? If Fiat starved its workers to buy Chrysler that's not our problem and were not selfish because Fiat thinks North America is a better investment. Maybe Fiat should sell off Chrysler if the people in Italy are so unhappy, but don't blame Americans for Fiats actions. Right now the only thing that might save Fiat is Chrysler because the European economy might be dead for the next 5 years. All told I have no interest in buying an imported Jeep or any other car!
          Eu_Driver
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ss1591
          Dear ss1591, you can absolutely choose not to buy any imported car in the U.S.A. and prefer the domestic production... Perfectly right, you earned your money and none cannot imposes you what to do with... But, honestly speaking, I suppose that a B-segment (be careful, it will have not the same size of the present C-segment Compass) small Jeep (i.e. a SUV based on a supermini platform) can be considered a "niche" product in North America (a competitor of Chevy Trax, to figure out an example). But this is not the case in EU or other markets (Asia-Pacific for example) where gasoline is quite expensive (due to taxes etc...). So, built this kind of Jeep in the U.S.A. and then sell it WORLDWIDE (what happens with today Jeeps): i.e. IMPORT that in EU (likely its principal market, despite the present crisis) building that car into plants (the N.A. ones) already running near full capacity (and letting the present Italian plants "starving" in a near-death condition) ONLY BECAUSE Jeep is an AMERICAN brand sound a little......... weird/absurd/selfish to me.... Better reading previous posts I have to recognize that those kinds of comments were the minority, so I apologize if I seemed too.... rough in my previous post.
      Demonoid
      • 2 Years Ago
      The bailout money is going to Italy to create jobs there. Obama messed up again.
        maxdamage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Demonoid
        The small Jeep suv is based on a FIAT btw....such as the dart that is an Alfa Romeo and will give jobs to american people.So it's a lot of italian money to create jobs in america.That is what an international company does.
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Demonoid
        Be quiet troll
        mookieblaylock
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Demonoid
        so stupid, both the parties are bs, owned by the corporations and will sell out everybody but the stupid rich in a heartbeat. Back to the subject at hand north american chrysler plants are at capacity and that's why production is in italy
      Mike Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Disaster (Jeep built on Fiat mechanicals!). Fiat's are notorious for being crap, for breaking down, for spending more of their lives in repair shops than on the road. Disaster for Jeep(!).
        Manuele Corradi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mike Lee
        Fiat's are notorious for being crap? So are you mean also Ferrari Maserati, and the Dodge Dart ( it's based on Alfa Giulietta design)
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      BombSquad
      • 2 Years Ago
      I won't pretend to understand all the logistics of this but purely from a tax standpoint they are going to be paying large import tariffs on these models on top of the Italian export taxes. With other brands building plants in North America to get in on the NAFTA benefits, this is a bit surprising. Won't Belvedere have excess capacity when they discontinue the current small Jeeps?
        Eu_Driver
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BombSquad
        Recently Marchionne has meet Italian P.M. Mario Monti asking to take action (both nationally and both at the European level) to reduce taxes in manufactured goods in Italy that are sold worldwide, especially to the NAFTA markets.... He Said that this is the "only solution" for not closing another plant in Italy... Considered the "market power" of Fiat in Italy, Marchionne can even hope to have a sort of.... export subside, if Italian treasury count will regain some stability.... Here in EU there's a strong movement toward "reindustrialization" seen as the sole way to solve the crisis, reduce unemployement and hoping for a better future... So....
        Eu_Driver
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BombSquad
        Not to sound too optimistic.... the "reindustrialization process" is, presently, only a word in an vague paper produced by the EU commission.... It can be a "void advertising", but... I hope not.... However, I'm against any form of export subsides (as those presently performed by the China regime) because they distort the markets and, soon or later... will present their true costs... Unfortunately, people here in the EU (especially Italy and France, but also Spain, Portugal, Greece....) is asking to everyone to... do all he can do to "preserve" the few factories that remain... (you American at least still hope to create "something new"... Especially in South Europe, spirits are more "conservative"... and... lately.... even "depressed", everyday media presents us business failures, plants stopped, unemployement rates rising....etc., yeah probably we were too much "pampered" by too much "welfare state" in previous years... and now the "awakening" is very hard). I only hope that the present Italian goverment is really able to reduce taxes on work (wages are relatively low, but due to really high taxes, variable production costs rise) so to make more competitive local manufactures, that (in Italy) already rely mostly on export to survive....
      MAX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Check out this jewel! Imagine a diesel AWD version of this with a Jeep grille. http://www.fiat500usa.com/2012/07/fiat-500x-crossover-sneak-peek.html
      Trixlette
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I were Romney as President, I would make it so difficult for ANY product moved to another country, for that product to enter this country´╗┐ to be sold, it will be so expensive they won't make a dime here.
      budwsr25
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't understand why jeep needs a small SUV. Build a Cherokee on the Grand's platform without all the bells and whistles. Then build a small tracker sized jeep that can really go off road like the wrangler.
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