MILAN -- Stellantis is pausing production at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, which builds the Fiat New 500 battery-electric small car and Maserati cars amid weakening demand.
Output at the factory was stopped this week and it will be halted again from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3, a Stellantis spokesperson said.
The Mirafiori plant has two assembly lines and builds the New 500 and four Maserati models. The Maserati cars built in the factory are the Levante large SUV, Granturismo large coupe, and the Ghibli and Quattroporte large sedans.
Both lines will be stopped, affecting 2,400 employees who will be temporarily laid off.
The New 500 was Europe’s third best-selling all-electric car in 2022 but its sales have slowed this year with the arrival of new competitors and weakening demand for EVs across Europe.
The New 500’s volume in Europe fell 1.7 percent to 41,217 in the first eight months, according to market analysts Dataforce. It was the region’s sixth best-selling battery-electric car during the period after the Tesla Model Y, VW ID4, Tesla Model 3, VW ID3 and MG4.
Fiat planned to build about 100,000 New 500s at Mirafiori this year. According to the FIM union, 47,000 units were produced in the first half, up 21 percent from the same period last year.
A plan to export the New 500 should help sales in 2024, although Fiat brand CEO Olivier François said last year, he does not expect big volumes.
EV demand is slowing in Europe amid higher energy costs and inflation, as well as consumer concerns about charging infrastructure and battery range.
Industry analysts expect EV sales in Europe to slow down for the rest of the year. Next year they will be flat and will only return to rapid growth after 2025.
Volkswagen will suspend production of VW ID3 and Cupra Born battery-electric cars at its Zwickau and Dresden plants in Germany in the first two weeks of October due to weaker demand.
Maserati’s aging lineup
Maserati’s models built in Miafiori have slumped in Europe, with Levante sales down 65 percent through August to 604 units. According to the FIM union, the Maserati assembly line at Mirafiori was paused 58 working days in the first half.
Production of the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans will end by December. The Quattroporte is due to be replaced by a new generation in 2024, including a battery-electric variant. The Ghibli will not be replaced.
The Levante SUV will be replaced by a new model in 2025.
Maserati’s global sales increased 41 percent to 14,500 in the first half, boosted by the brand’s Grecale midsize SUV, which is built in Cassino, Italy, alongside the Alfa Romeo Giulia midsize sedan and Stelvio midsize SUV.