Stellantis leaves Turin – Il Post

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At the end of October, an announcement was published on Immobiliare.it, a well-known online portal for the sale and purchase of real estate, about a factory in Grugliasco, a municipality adjacent to the city of Turin. The plant spread over 115 thousand square meters, was in good condition after recent and significant renovations, and housed part of the Maserati bodywork production line, which was scheduled to be decommissioned by the end of 2023. The announcement was made by a real estate agency called Stellantis, a company born in January 2021 by the merger of PSA, a French company better known as Peugeot Citroën, and FCA, an Italian-American company formed by the merger of FIAT and Chrysler.

The liquidation of such an important plant was greeted with some disappointment by unions and workers, another sign of management that has changed a lot from the past: despite assurances, Stellantis is actually investing less and less in Italy. in Turin, the city symbol of FIAT.

In recent years, the number of cars produced at the FIAT plant in Mirafiori, south of Turin, has fallen significantly, no retiring staff are being hired, and redundancies are supported by generous financial contributions. Several productions were moved abroad, while new factories were opened and employees hired in other countries, such as France.

In 2023, Stellantis announced investments in a factory in Turin, but secondary and in some ways marginal compared to the production and assembly of new models, which will instead be made abroad. Turin is the city most exposed to the disengagement of Stellantis, which is greatly feared by the unions, who in recent years have warned workers and institutions about the consequences of this slow decline on employment and ultimately on the city of Turin and its residents.

A worker working on a car at the Stellantis factory in Mirafiori

A worker working on a car at the Stellantis factory in Mirafiori (ANSA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO)

The Maserati plant in Grugliasco was inaugurated on January 30, 2013, after it was bought by Carrozzeria Bertone, which had opened it in 1959. On the day of the inauguration, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, who died in 2018, convened the board of directors here for the first time in factory in the company’s history. He wanted to give “a sign of hope, a concrete demonstration that we can fight the decline and start a new course”.

The plant was called AGAP, short for Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant, and in Marchionne’s plans, it would become a luxury center thanks to the production of the Maserati Quattroporte and Maserati Ghibli. In 2017, 55 thousand cars left the plant, in 2023 they reached only eight thousand. In the last shift at the end of the year, the workforce was reduced from two thousand to one thousand to seven employees.

The closure of the Grugliasco plant is the result of an industrial and real estate choice, as Maserati is not in crisis: 15 thousand cars were sold in the first half of 2023, an increase of 50 percent compared to the same period in 2022 and with sales of 1.3 billion euros. Luxury cars are in demand especially in the United States, Italy, China and Japan.

Even more pronounced is the decrease in employees and, consequently, in the cars produced at the Mirafiori plants, the company’s most important. From 1971, a record year with 60,000 workers, it was 36,000 in 1988, 25,000 in 2001 and 19,000 in 2014, the year the FCA Group was born. In 2022, even after the integration of the two Maserati models relocated from Grugliask, 11,835 people worked at Mirafiori.

The number of cars produced also goes hand in hand: from one million cars a year in the 1960s and 1970s, it was 216,000 in 2006 to a negative record in 2019 with around 22,000 cars. Thanks to the production of the electric 500, there was an increase in cars produced, in 2022 88 thousand, but in 2023 there was a new decrease: 85,940 cars left Mirafiori, 9.3 percent less than the year before. Meanwhile, Punto, Idea, Musa, Thesis and Multipla were discontinued.


Edi Lazzi, secretary of FIOM in Turin, the metalworkers’ union linked to CGIL, says 2008 is the year the slow decline that is visible today began: it was the first year that severance pay was demanded for the body shop. the Mirafiori department, i.e. where the final assembly of the cars takes place. It never happened. “The number of cars produced is decreasing, the number of employees is decreasing, and all this is supported by the fact that there is no replacement of discontinued models,” says Lazzi.

Even as car production is expected to increase in 2024, unions are concerned about the long-term outlook. In fact, 70 percent of the body shop workforce will retire in the next seven years. The last real recruitments took place in the 1990s. An agreement was signed in October to review incentives for future voluntary departures estimated to affect approximately 2,000 employees. However, on November 3, Stellantis sent 15,000 e-mails to workers in Italian factories with a proposal to join a program called “Build your future”, which was actually a proposal for an economic incentive to leave work by the end of the year.

The offer consists of an age-based incentive, three months’ salary and compensation for non-compliance with the notice period, as well as the opportunity to receive unemployment benefits as required by law. Between 2021 and 2022, approximately 350 employees, including engineers, technicians and designers, left the Turin offices. “In fact, the main investment that Stellantis is making in Turin and in Italy is to give people money to get out of their way,” says Lazzi. “If we continue like this, there is a risk that the Mirafiori plant will shut itself down.”

Stellantis also announced some investments in the Mirafiori plant last year in response to accusations of leaving Turin. 40 million euros have been allocated to the creation of the so-called Stellantis Circular Economy Center, a department for regenerating used components such as engines, axles and transmission systems and refurbishing them to be resold worldwide at lower prices than components. New. The Battery Technology Center was also opened, where battery performance tests for electric cars are carried out.

The CEO of Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, said that the Mirafiori recycling center is the beginning of a new story that goes from a linear economy to a circular economy. Tavares assured that he is sure that “what we are doing here is an intelligent and prudent step for the future. It will be a profitable future. We are building a profitable business here, a sustainable business that will be profitable.”

Stellantis employees responded with a letter to Tavares. Circular economy announcements, they wrote, do not translate into new and good jobs, and the cars produced in Mirafiori are not even enough to pay the plant’s electricity bill: «Even Turin entrepreneurs seem skeptical, and in this climate many are literally fleeing the territory, leaving only ruins.”

According to the unions, new car models are needed for the Mirafiori plant to really have a future. At the end of the year, the unions FIOM CGIL, FIM CISL and UILM called on Stellantis to ask for new investments. In the coming months, discussions will take place with factory delegates, with companies in the province of Turin and with institutions to find a solution regardless of the Stellantis industrial plan.

According to the union, the aim is to open negotiations with potential new investors ready to take advantage of Mirafiori’s industrial and knowledge assets. With the necessary guarantees, even the hypothesis of negotiating the sale of a Chinese company (one of the most expanded automotive industries in the world) does not frighten the unions. “Italy has its rules and its protections, so there are no taboos against any investor,” said Luigi Paone, secretary of the UILM in Turin.

stellantis workers in mirafiori

(ANSA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO)

In addition to the sale of the Maserati plant, the departure of Stellantis from Turin already has consequences for the automotive industry, i.e. for small and medium-sized enterprises, which in recent decades have worked almost exclusively first for FIAT, then for FCA and finally for Stellantis. At the beginning of November, a permanent crew of employees started at the Lear factory, which makes car seats. In 2016, 71,000 were supplied to Stellantis annually, last year only 7,000 were produced. 310 workers out of a total of 420 are at risk of losing their jobs. In early December, the redundancy fund was extended by one year.

In an interview with Courier TurinThe secretary of CGIL in Piedmont, Giorgio Airaudo, said that the concrete effects of the decline of Stellantis will be seen in Turin next spring. “The auto crisis is exploding throughout the supply chain,” he said. “Now we only see it in small but dramatic cases like ex-Tyco and Lear, 500 people at risk of unemployment. Suppliers are in trouble. Stellantis is not investing enough and there are no new models.”

Even the Bishop of Turin, Roberto Repole, accused Stellantis of neglecting Turin. The plight of SMEs in Turin was caused by the decline of Stellantis, which in turn is leading to closures and downsizing in related sectors, Repole said. With a series of short rhetorical questions, Repole outlined all the problems: «The rule of Stellantis is moving more and more abroad, but in the meantime Turin must know its future. What does the early retirement campaign mean? And the closing of the Grugliasco office? Or again a redundancy fund in the ranks of Mirafiori? Opening a new one will have little impact in terms of employment hub for recycling. I confidently turn to Stellantis executives to clarify their plans: relaunch or downsizing?

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