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2013-09-05 08:56

4x4 MASERATI ON CARDS: With Fiat’s R13.5-billion investment, Maserati will begin production of its Levante luxury SUV in 2014. Image: AFP

Fiat is to invest the equivalent of R13.5-billion at its Turin plant, easing fears that it would shrink its role in Italy. The deal will allow the production of 4x4 Maseratis in 2014.

MILAN, Italy - Fiat said in September 2013 that would invest a billion euros (R13.5-billion) at its Turin plant to assemble Maseratis. Well, the company is being true to its word.

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has announced:  "Fiat will immediately launch the investment plan needed to ensure the production and labour future of the Mirafiori plant."

DEAL REACHED

Trade unions, in return for the investment, promised to support the collective contract proposed by the automaker, admitting that the contract was "an unavoidable condition for Fiat's commitment to Italy" but the Fiom-Cgil metalworkers' union, in a long-running dispute with Fiat, did not agree to it.

Luigi Angeletti, leader of the Uil trade union, agreed the investment would allow work on ensuring production of the 4x4 Maserati Levante SUV at the plant.

Angeletti said: "We will have to change our production line to produce a very different type of car." He said that the actual vehicles would be built from 2014.

Giuseppe Farina, a union boss from Fim-Cisl, said: "This returns future and hope to many employees of the company and to the country's auto industry."

Fiat is Italy's biggest non-government employer and is regularly accused by critics of planning to quit Italy since its merger with US partner Chrysler.

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