Fiat's Melfi plant is getting ready to play an important role in the company's future strategy of making a living out of selling compact crossover SUVs.
The Fiat Group previously announced a one billion Euro investment on renovating the Melfi manufacturing unit which is earmarked for the production of Fiat 500X and a new compact SUV from Jeep. Both the cars will be crucial for the group and will be marketed globally. The former is ruled out for India until 2016, while the baby Jeep project, part of the which will be developed at Chrysler's R&D facility in India (Chennai) has been confirmed for a 2015 launch.
Autoedizione.com reports that the renovation work of the plant will commence next month. The company has reportedly decided to halt the production in the factory for a period of four days for the purpose. The pace and the intensity of the preparatory work will increase and there could be many more production halts this year for the same cause.
The Melfi plant currently produces the Grande Punto hatchback. The renovation work would not really hurt the productivity of the plant as production takes place only intermittently due to poor demand for this model in a financially unstable Europe.
After the upgrade, the Melfi plant will be flexible to produce more than one product on the same line. The launch of the Fiat 500X and the baby Jeep are due in the next couple of years and the plant is expected to be ready to start their production in time.