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Less than one year ago most employees at Melfi worked one week per month. What started as a small team of 250 six months ago has grown into a 7,700 strong manufacturing facility, running three shifts in order to keep up with demand.

As the European recession accelerated in Italy several new products were either cancelled or pushed back. While FIAT was investing billions to retool facilities in the USA. It left many Italians wondering why Sergio wasn't investing in Italy?

It wasn't that Marchionne wasn't going to invest in Italy, he simply had a different strategy, focused on the longer term. Several Italian factories have become export hubs for Jeep, Maserati and eventually Alfa Romeo. Melfi was completely refurbished for the Renegade and 500X, their facility in Grugliasco was also reworked for the new Maseratis and their plant in Cassino which also saw upgrades recently will produce the new Giulia sedan for Alfa Romeo.

"Now, since about the summer of last year, people are really starting to believe in this plan in Italy, and … they are starting to believe again that Fiat can rebuild in Italy," said Giorgio Barba Navaretti, a professor of economics at the University of Milan.

The response of the workers has been overwhelming. Melfi is a small agricultural region that was job starved until the 'Jeep' plant came. "There is a pride here to make Jeep because it is American," said Gianfranco Cinquefiori who manages the plants stamping division.

"Now we work 20 shifts per week and operate seven days per week," said Ennico Meccia, manager of the final assembly shop at the plant. The renovation "was a dramatic change in the life of the people of this region in southern Italy."

The fact that the Renegade is a blend of American styling and Italian soul isn't lost on the Italians either. USA Today reports sales of Jeeps in Italy alone are up 269% and more then 16,000 Jeeps have moved off Italian dealer lots in 2015.
 

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FCA history, the true story

Funny how it was the italians who were worried about cash leaving Italy, when its actually played out in reverse. Jeep profits being used for the rest of the companies CapEx...


I think you missed the first part of the common Fiat Chrysler history.
After Fiat get the controll over Chrysler, the resources of the entire groupe get redirectionated. Marchionne wants all the managment construction, designe, and research people available in the entire Fiat groupe to work 4 jear long almost exclusivly to revive/renew the american brands.


Not only Fiat invest all the money they had to that time in Chrysler, but also the managment demanded italian designer and engineer to stop work for new Fiat/Alfa/ Lancia/Maserati models, and concentrate from now on creating together with their US american workmates competitive new/all new models for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, as fast as possible.


Marchionne's peferation as in Europe, the economic crisis rages (the southern countries, where Fiat is traditionally strongest, most affected), to build more new models for the North American market, brings the short-time working in the Italian plants to never-before-seen dimensions.


Even the people of Fiat Group business, like Fiat-Powertrain (engine-transmission), Magneti Marelli (components- electronic), Autmotive Lighting (light systems), Comau (Produktion System), Teksid (iron and casting), in this firm worked almost exclusivly to improve that later will become FCA USA. Also some engineer from Ferrari/Maserati came to US, to improve Chrysler engine in some small but important detail.
 
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