TURIN – Fiat S.p.A.'s car factory in Sicily may be used in the future to assemble cars shipped to Italy from the Chinese automaker Chery Automobile.
Fiat is stopping production at the Termini Imerese plant a month earlier than planned due to a poor order intake. The automaker announced in 2009 that the 41-year-old factory near Palermo would cease production at the end of this year.
After receiving a number of offers, the Italian government has chosen DR Motor Co. to take over the plant. DR Motor has said it will assemble cars supplied by Chery at the factory, but has not indicated when production will start nor production volumes.
DR Motor, part of the Di Risio dealer group, imports and sells Chinese vehicles in Italy as a domestic brand. Most of its cars come from Chery.
Currently, Termini makes the Lancia Ypsilon three-door minicar, which is being replaced by a new five-door Ypsilon, a bigger model built in Fiat's Tychy plant in Poland.
Fiat will close Termini's assembly lines on Nov. 23, according to unions that took part in meetings with Fiat officials on the plant's future.
Fiat has said high logistics costs led to its decision to stop building cars at Termini. Production there costs about 700 euros more per car than in other plants because most of the parts are shipped to the factory from mainland Italy.