TURIN – Fiat S.p.A. will invest 700 million euros ($947 million) in an underused factory in Pomigliano near Naples, Italy, to build the next generation of the Panda, Europe's best-selling small car.
Fiat plans to move Panda production to Pomigliano from the company's factory in Tychy, Poland. Production of the third-generation Panda will start in Pomigliano in the second half of next year with annual production of between 270,000 and 280,000 units at full capacity, Fiat said.
The factory has an installed annual capacity of 240,000 but last year built just 36,000 units of Alfa Romeo's slow-selling 159, GT and 147 cars.
To make Panda production at Pomigliano a viable business proposition, Fiat has asked unions for “flexibility in shifts and work days, internal mobility and opposition to irregular forms of absenteeism,” the company said in a statement.
Fiat wants the plant to add a night shift and operate six days a week instead of five on 18 shifts instead of 10 to boost productivity.
Fiat also wants to reduce the plant's 5,200 workforce by 10 percent through early retirement buyouts, according to labor unions, who are seeking a meeting with Fiat on April 9 to discuss the automaker's plans for the factory.