Stellantis to slow operations at Fiat Turin plant on weak demand

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Fiat 500 electric car is displayed at a showroom of a car dealer in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) - Stellantis will slow down operations at its Mirafiori plant, in Turin, this month and next in response to weak market demand for its fully-electric Fiat 500 small car and Maserati models, a spokesman for the automaker said on Monday.

The stoppages will last until March 30, adding to a previously announced furlough period for about 2,250 workers at the plant from Feb. 12 to March 3, the spokesman said.

However the spokesman said that, except for Feb. 12, when the plant will be totally stopped, Mirafiori was expected to operate on a reduced rate of one eight-hour daily shift, instead of the two regular ones, for the period.

Fiat-maker Stellantis however has the option to totally stop activity at the facility if demand should prove even weaker in the coming weeks, he added.

A union source said some 300-350 people are expected to be on furloughs every week out of a total of around 1,250 workers making the electric Fiat 500 and a further 1,000 producing Maserati models. Some workers will be temporarily absorbed by other productive departments at Mirafiori, the source added.

Italy last week launched a new plan, worth 950 million euros ($1 billion) for this year, to help drivers switch to cleaner vehicles. As part of it, purchases of fully-electric cars will be subsidised up to 13,750 euros.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares last month said that Mirafiori, the historic home of Fiat, was among the plants which had been suffering the most from a so far penny-pinching approach by Rome to auto incentives.

($1 = 0.9312 euros)

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Keith Weir)