TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler (FCA) plans to spend 700 million euros ($788 million) to take the Fiat 500 electric as the carmaker moves on from its failed $35 billion bid to merge with France’s Renault (RENA.PA), a pioneer in electric vehicles.
Robots of the new Fiat 500 BEV line during the ceremony to mark the installation of the first robot on the production line for the new electric Fiat 500 BEV at the Mirafiori industrial complex on the 80th birthday of the plant in Turin, Italy July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
FCA (FCHA.MI) chief operating officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Pietro Gorlier, announced the Italian-American company’s biggest single bet on an electric vehicle at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, northern Italy on Thursday.
FCA’s investment is part of a plan announced last year to spend 5 billion euros in Italy up to 2021.
Gorlier told reporters that FCA had started building the new production line at Mirafiori to turn out 80,000 of the new 500 BEV, its first battery electric vehicle to be marketed in Europe.
The original 500 model, launched by Fiat in the late 1950s and known affectionately as the “Cinquecento”, quickly become a symbol of Italian urban design.
Mirafiori’s 3,500 workers are hoping the new electric mini-car will revive a plant which LMC Automotive estimates is running below 10% of its capacity this year.
Workers in Fiat’s home town are also betting on the hybrid version of Maserati’s Levante SUV, on which production is expected to start next year, to help boost their working