MILAN -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest almost 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to start production of the new Alfa Romeo Tonale compact SUV and a Panda hybrid minicar at its Pomigliano plant near Naples in Italy, unions said on Wednesday.
The investment is part of a FCA's plan announced last year to spend 5 billion euros in Italy up to 2021 to help the group launch its first electric and hybrid models and to fill capacity utilization at its Italian plants.
FCA will start building the new production line at the start of next year, metal mechanic unions FIM, UILM, FISMIC, UGLM and AQCF said in a statement after meeting FCA.
A FCA spokesman confirmed the unions' statement, adding the investment for the two models would be "closer to 1 billion than 500 million euros."
The spokesman said a "premium compact SUV" would be produced at the Pomigliano plant, along with a hybrid Panda, but did not confirm it was the Alfa Romeo Tonale.
Production of the hybrid Panda is expected to start in the first half of next year, while Tonale output will begin in the first half of 2021.
FCA has already begun investing to prepare the Pomigliano factory for production. The plant already produces internal combustion Panda cars.
Earlier this year, FCA said it was investing 700 million euros to start building the production line for the new Fiat 500 electric in its historic Mirafiori plant in Turin, as the carmaker moved on from its failed $35 billion bid to merge with Renault. Production will start in the second quarter of 2020.
Hybrid versions of Jeep Compass and Renegade models and of Maserati's Levante SUV are also expected to go on sale next year.