TURIN -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has cut production at Italian factories building Alfa Romeo and Maserati cars after new Chinese import rules hit sales, according to union sources.
Sales of Alfa Romeo and Maserati vehicles have fallen significantly in China since authorities introduced new rules on relationships between dealers and carmakers, FCA told unions. Among other changes, the new regulations ban automakers from imposing stock on dealerships.
According to the FIM and FIOM unions, FCA has imposed these production cuts:
• The production line for the new Maserati Levante SUV at FCA's plant in Mirafiori, Turin will shut for two weeks between October and November.
• Production of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV and Giulia sedan in Cassino, central Italy, has been reduced to 265 cars per shift from 300 this month. This follows production stops on four Fridays since mid-September with a loss of more than 2,000 units.
FCA declined to comment on the cuts.
Chinese shipments of the Giulia and the Stelvio - which started this spring - have fallen significantly after a brisk start, data from market researchers JATO Dynamics show. Alfa delivered to 1,006 Stelvios to Chinese dealers in June, 2,666 in July and only 227 in August. Maserati followed the same pattern, shipping an average 350 Levantes in July and August, down from a monthly average of more than 800 in the first half.
FCA's sales targets for the Levante, Giulia, and Stelvio may have been too high, according to Felipe Munoz, Global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics market researchers.
Alfa Romeo will sell between 130,000 and 140,000 units in 2017 based on sales to date, he said. These may not meet the target but it is still "an excellent result," Munoz said.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said earlier this year that Alfa Romeo will sell 170,000 vehicles this year including the Giulietta sedan, Mito small hatchback and 4C coupe and roadster.