Stellantis confirms start dates for 5 new models at Melfi factory

Stellantis confirms start dates for 5 new models at Melfi factory

Automotive News Europe — 2023-10-03

Automotive Industry

Stellantis will start production of five new midsize models from a range of brands for the European and Middle East markets at its Melfi plant in southern Italy between 2024 and 2026, unions said on Tuesday.

The automaker announced details of the production plan for Melfi at a meeting on Tuesday, unions said in a statement, smoothing labor relationships in Europe as the group nagivates prolonged strikes in North America over contract renewals.

Stellantis had said it would build five EV models in Melfi, all based on the new STLA Medium platform, but until now had not provided details about the plan, including a confirmation that Melfi would build a new model for the Jeep brand.

This lack of clarity prompted unions last month to call a one-day strike at the facility, one of the largest in Italy for the group, with about 5,800 workers.

New production in Melfi will start early next year with a DS model, followed in 2025 by the new Jeep Compass, which will be available in both full-electric and hybrid versions, and another model for DS.

Production of two more models, for Opel and Lancia, will start in 2026.

Current models to halt by 2025

The first DS model could be a five-door midsize fastback called the DS 9, with a sister flagship model for Opel that would replace the midsize Insignia, Automotive News Europe reported in 2022.

The second DS model would be a full-electric replacement for the DS 7 Aircross compact SUV, with a sister model for Lancia. Alfa Romeo, DS and Lancia make up the premium group of brands within Stellantis.

Assembly of current models -- Fiat's 500X, Jeep's Compass and Renegade -- will end between 2024 and 2025, the FIM-Cisl, Uilm, Fismic and Ugl unions said.

Stellantis could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday's announcement makes Melfi Stellantis' first plant in Italy to be assigned with a clear and future-oriented mission, unions said.

Gianluca Ficco and Marco Lomio of the UILM union called for the Italian government to increase efforts to support electric transition in the automotive industry.

Italian government seeks long-term plan

Rome is aiming to agree on a broad, long-term plan for its automotive industry with Stellantis and other relevant groups.

As part of that, the government is expected to set up a new incentive plan, while pushing for Stellantis to bring its annual output in the country back up to 1 m vehicles.

Stellantis built fewer than 700,000 vehicles in the country last year and in 2021, as it was hit by a global shortage of microchips and other components.

Production at Melfi decreased by 29 percent in 2021 to 163,646 vehicles, less than half of the 2018 output of 339,865. In recent years, Melfi production peaked at 393,000 units in 2015, figures from FIM-CISL union showed.