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by Brett Davis

As a part of the partnership between Fiat and Chrysler, Fiat boss, Sergio Marchionne, announced last week the company will be manufacturing future Jeep models in the Fiat plant located in Turin (Torino), Italy.

An Italian off-road car though… it doesn’t quite sound right. In fact, it’ll be the first such car to be made in the country, with almost all previous cars to come from Italy segmented into the small car or super car category – apart from various soft-roaders the country has offered over the years, such as the Fiat Panda, and of course the Lamborghini LM002 tank.

Although the Jeeps will be made in Italy, more than half are said to be destined for overseas markets. The plant is said to produce up to 280,000 cars per year, up from 178,000 it now produces.

Speculation say this Mirafiori Fiat plant (in action since 1937) will also build the Alfa Romeo off-road car, a platform which will be shared by future Jeep models. Small and medium-sized cars sharing the same platform between Chrysler and Fiat are also said to commence at this plant in 2012.

With Fiat having 20 percent ownership of Chrysler, another proposed model to be launched within the Fiat/Chrysler partnership is a Maserati SUV. This will be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform. The model, Fiat says, will be built in Detroit, US, at Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant though.

So, a Maserati built in America and a Jeep built in Italy; it’s all becoming a big converging industry. What do you think, should the Italians stick to tradition or is it a good move by Fiat to step into the popular SUV market?




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