MILAN (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) will invest almost one billion euros ($1.1 billion) to start production of the new Alfa Romeo compact SUV Tonale and of the light hybrid version of its Panda small car at its Pomigliano plant, 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 for the Tonale 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”.
He said a “premium compact SUV” would be produced in the southern-Italy Pomigliano plant, near Naples, along with hybrid Panda, but did not confirm it was the Alfa Romeo Tonale.
The company has already begun investing to prepare the plant near Naples for production. The plant already produces traditional Panda cars.
The production of the hybrid Panda is expected to start in the first half of next year, while that of the Tonale in the first half of 2021.
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 France’s Renault (RENA.PA).
Production will start in the second quarter of 2020.
Hybrid versions of Jeep models Compass and Renegade and of Maserati’s Levante SUV are also expected to hit the market next year.
Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari. Editing by Jane Merriman