TURIN -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will invest 700 million euros ($788 million) to build a production line for the new electric version of the Fiat 500 minicar, as the automaker seeks to move on from its failed bid to merge with Renault.
FCA's Europe chief, Pietro Gorlier, announced the investment at the automaker's Mirafiori plant in Fiat's home town of Turin on Thursday. The line will build 80,000 units a year of a new battery-powered 500.
"The plan is confirmed," Gorlier told reporters when asked if FCA's investment in electric-vehicle technology would remain unchanged after its $35 billion plan to merge with Renault, an electric car pioneer, collapsed last month.
Production of the newly-engineered 500 EV will start in the second quarter of 2020, with a potential to expand capacity later, Gorlier said.
The 500 is one of Fiat's most famous models. Launched in the late 1950s, it quickly became a symbol of Italian urban design.
The investment is part of a plan announced last year to invest 5 billion euros in Italy up to 2021.
The new 500 EV will be Fiat's first battery-powered car to be sold in Europe. FCA did not discuss plans for sales in other markets such as the United States and China.
An earlier electric 500 was sold in the U.S. to comply with emissions rules on zero-emission cars. In 2014, former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne asked customers not to buy the 500e because the company was losing money on it.