MILAN -- Stellantis is studying a plan that would involve the closure of one of two production lines at its Melfi plant in southern Italy, the head of the FIM CISL union said.
The Jeep Renegade and Compass, and the Fiat 500X SUVs, are built at Melfi, which is considered the most efficient Stellantis plant in Italy.
Closing a Melfi line could mark a first step by CEO Carlos Tavares to tackle excess capacity in Italy.
The automaker's production is under scrutiny in the country for costing more than elsewhere, as Stellantis seeks more than 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) a year in savings.
FIM CISL's Ferdinando Uliano said the plan was being assessed but Stellantis had not taken any decision on it, and the union had yet to receive official confirmation that such project was being considered.
"We are very worried," Uliano said on Thursday. "Once you have reduced production capacity at one site, it's very difficult to gain it back."
Elsewhere in Italy, Turin's Mirafiori has two lines, while all of Stellantis' other sites in the country have one.
Unions will meet with Stellantis' top executives in Europe on April 15 in Turin to discuss the outlook for the group's production sites in Italy.
Stellantis was not immediately available for comment.
Tavares has said that production costs at factories in Italy are up to four times more than in the automaker's plants in France and Spain.
He committed not to cut jobs or close plants following the creation of the company from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot-maker PSA earlier this year.
Downsizing plants was at the heart of Tavares' "back in the race" strategy at PSA, where he helped the French automaker to recover from near-bankruptcy about a decade ago.
All plants producing fewer than 250,000 vehicles a year saw their capacity cut from two production lines to one to maximize capacity on the remaining line.
In France, PSA took that route with its assembly plants at Rennes, Poissy and Mulhouse. It later applied the same approach at Opel-Vauxhall plants when it bought the business from General Motors.
About 249,000 cars were produced in Melfi in 2019, according to figures provided by local unions, after topping 300,000 in 2018. Production fell further last year to about 215,000 units following the COVID-19 crisis.