FCA to restart preparatory operations at Melfi plant in Italy from Monday

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCA

An average of 750 employees of Fiat Chrysler Melfi assembly plant in southern Italy will return to work next week to prepare the center for the final development of the group’s new hybrid cars, a union representative has said.

Marco Lomio, of UILM union, stated the automaker had told unions that workers would have to finish cars left unfinished on assembly lines when the plant was closed in mid-March after rules imposed by the government to control the coronavirus spread.

“We’ll start with 500 people on Monday and we’ll peak on Wednesday with around 1.000 workers,” Lomio stated.

This would then permit Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to have lines free to build prototypes of new plug-in hybrid variations of Jeep’s Compass and Renegade models, he stated.

The partial resumption of operations at Melfi, which generally employs 7,400 workers, adds to FCA plan to restart van production in Atessa plant, in central Italy, a week prior to a national lockdown imposed by the government is formally due to end.

Around 6,000 Atessa workers out of a total of 6,500 are expected to get back to work on Monday.

As for Atessa, in Melfi FCA has sought a green light from regional officials, depending on their tacit consent, as it makes use of a provision in the country’s lockdown laws that allows companies whose activity can be linked to “essential” sectors to resume, Lomio said.

Building prototypes of new hybrid cars is recognized part of R&D activities, regarded essential by the government.

Lomio stated the automaker would probably resume developing those prototypes immediately from May 4.

He added that, after production stoppage associated to the virus emergency, FCA would hardly start selling new hybrid version of Jeep’s Compass and Renegade models before September, compared with the original plan before the outbreak to start in July.

About 195,351 people in Italy have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 26,384 people in the country.

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