Fiat will stop production at its Melfi plant in southern Italy for more than 20 days in December and January. The car maker will place 5000 workers on a temporary layoff scheme on December 17 and from December 21 until January 13 in Melfi, where it produces the Punto. Recently union officials said that the company is planning to extend production breaks by two weeks from November 26 at its southern Italian plant of Pomigliano, which produces the Panda mini car. Fiat has placed workers from many of its Italian plants on temporary layoff schemes this year.
Fiat’s Italian car plants are currently running at 50 per cent capacity as the automaker experiences overcapacity and falling demand in Europe, a market on which it is heavily dependent for sales. This year, Western Europe’s car market has fallen by 7.3 per cent. Among the hardest hit countries are crisis-hit Greece, Portugal and Italy, where demand is heading for a 33-year low. In the first 10 months, deliveries of Fiat Group vehicles in the EU and EFTA markets fell 15.9 per cent. With the European new car-market as a whole dropping 7.8 percent from January to October and Fiat’s traditional markets such as Italy (-19.7%), Spain (-11.9%), Greece (-39.9%) and Portugal (-38.3%) recording double-digit declines, Fiat is feeling the pressure more than any other automaker in the region.
Fiat will complete separation from Tata Motors in sales operations in India by March next year and plans to have 80 dealers of its own as the company embarks on yet another revival journey. The company’s wholly-owned Indian arm Fiat India Automobiles Ltd (FIAL) is also in the process of hiring about 100 people for customer facing roles. Besides strengthening of the sales network, Fiat India will also be reinforcing its workforce.