June 10, 2020 / 12:26 PM / a month ago

Fiat Chrysler plans to resume Panda production on June 16: union

FILE PHOTO: New Fiat Panda and Fiat 500 mild-hybrid cars are seen in piazza Maggiore, in Bologna, Italy, February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler (FCA) (FCHA.MI) plans to resume production of its Panda small car at its plant in Pomigliano, near Naples in southern Italy, on June 16, a union representative said on Wednesday.

The restart, initially scheduled for June 8, had been postponed this month because of weak demand in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

The company has informed unions that production would restart at pre-crisis levels, said Gianluca Ficco of the UILM union.

“FCA told us it aimed to give continuity of production and jobs, even if that will also depend on demand, which is still very weak,” Ficco said. “So we can’t rule out further stops if demand proves too weak”.

A spokesman for the Italian-American carmaker confirmed plans to restart Panda production on June 16.

FCA has already resumed regular production of vans and of Jeep’s Renegade and Compass models in Italy, as well as preparatory work for the new electric Fiat 500 small car.

Ficco said he hoped that the new hybrid version of the Panda would help to support volumes and that the government would agree measures to support demand and production in the Italian automotive industry.

Italy is considering incentives of up to 4,000 euros ($4,550) to buy the latest generation of petrol and diesel cars, joining France and Germany in offering support to an industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by David Goodman

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