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The head of Fiat Chrysler says Italy should decide if it wants to be part of the Alfa Romeo relaunch, threatening that alternative production locations are available.

The comments from Sergio Marchionne come on the back of a decision by Fiat to put on hold a two billion euro ($2.85 billion) investment plan for its Italian manufacturing operations.

The move, which risks the production of future Alfa Romeo and Maserati models in their traditional home of Italy, has been made in a bid to have the Italian government alter industry reforms.

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Bloomberg reports that Fiat has threatened to move production of new Alfa Romeo models out of Italy as the Turin-based company struggles with local labour laws and underutilised factories.

Despite the Italian investment plan being halted, Marchionne said the relaunch of Alfa Romeo would definitely continue.

“For sure,” he said.

“Italy should decide if they want it to happen here or not as Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives.”

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Marchionne says Fiat needs “clear and reliable rules” before investing further in Italian-based projects, including the production of new models at its main Mirafiori plant in Turin.

Expressing his desire to tackle the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the CEO said, “We want to disturb the idyllic environment they’ve created for themselves”.

“The only weapon we have is to get a slice of the high-end market, which we haven’t been able to tackle in the past because of laziness or inability – leaving our German friends alone.”

While the Maserati Ghibli and Alfa Romeo 4C are due to launch in Europe this year and arrive in Australia in 2014, the investment pause puts into question the group’s production plans for 11 new models, including the Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan and Maserati Levante SUV.




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