Union woes prompt Fiat to suspend former Bertone plant investment

Fiat has run into resistance from Italian unions in the past, and CEO Sergio Marchionne has been pushing the Fabbrica Italia plan to make things right. The business plan promises to invest in more Italian jobs in exchange for more flexible union deals – a home run for all parties involved, but Italy's cadre of unions have been slow to take Fiat up on its offer.

Automotive News reports that the Turin-based automaker has suspended a $710 million investment in the former Bertone plant after Fiat failed to reach an agreement with the FIOM union that represents the plant. The plant, which Fiat purchased back in 2009, had been earmarked to build the next generation Maserati Quattroporte and a midsized sedan to take on the likes of the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

A Fiat spokesperson reportedly told AN that FIOM's stance isn't acceptable, adding "right now, the conditions are not there to launch the planned investments." That doesn't mean that a deal is permanently out of the question, but it may give FIOM some motivation to see things Fiat's way. The midsize sedan is scheduled to arrive in Europe early in 2012, followed by the next Quattroporte sometime in 2013.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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