The first examples of the successor to Fiat’s current generation Panda city car will roll off the production line in Italy this November, according to a top Fiat executive. The third generation of the Panda is scheduled to make its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.
"We are on track in refurbishing Pomigliano, which will become a truly state-of-the-art plant when it begins production in November," Fiat Group chief manufacturing officer Stefan Ketter told Autonews Europe.
Last year, Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the updated Pomigliano d'Arco plant in central Italy would manufacturer the new Panda as part of the firm’s “Fabbrica Italia” (Italian factory) plan to increase vehicle productivity in Italy from around 650,000 units in 2010 to approximately 1.4 million cars in 2014.
The decision to move production of the Panda from the Tychy factory in Poland to Pomigliano came after Fiat SpA workers supported a reorganization plan to increase their productivity by around 70 percent, switching to a three-shift, 280-workday year from the current two shifts and 235 workdays. Sergio Marchionne had threatened the unions that he would either keep production of the new Panda in Poland or move it to Serbia if they did not agree to the new labor deal.
Fiat has invested some €800 million to build the new Panda in Pomigliano. In 2010, the Italian factory produced around 30,000 units of the Alfa Romeo 159 sedan and sports wagon, plus the final examples of the 147 hatchback and GT sports coupe.
The Tychy factory in Poland builds the current Fiat Panda and 500, as well as the Ford Ka city cars, and is currently Fiat’s largest and most efficient plant in Europe producing more than 533,000 cars in 2010. It ranks second within Fiat Group's global plants after the firm’s Belo Horizonte, Brazil, facility that produced close to 700,000 vehicles last year.
Source: Autonews Europe [Sub. Req.]