Alfa Romeo Tonale concept.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will invest nearly 1 billion euros (RM4.62 billion) towards the start of production for the forthcoming Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV and the Fiat Panda hybrid at the Pomigliano manufacturing plant, unions have said according to Reuters.

This investment move is the latest part of a plan in which FCA plans to spend 5 billion euros until 2021, which is aimed at helping the group of companies launch its first batch of hybrid and electric models, as well as to maximise capacity utilisation at its production plants, the report said.

Construction of the Tonale’s production line will commence at the beginning of next year, metal mechanic unions FIM, UILM, FISMIC, UGLM and AQCF said in a statement, which was then confirmed by an FCA spokesperson to Reuters. The investment for the forthcoming two models would be ‘closer to 1 billion than 500 million euros’, the spokesperson noted.

The spokesperson said that alongside the electrified Panda, a premium compact SUV will be produced at the southern Italian Pomigliano plant though without referring to it explicitly as the Tonale, the report said. This manufacturing plant already produces the standard internal combustion-engined Panda. Production of the hybrid Panda is expected to start in 1H 2020, with the Tonale following suit in 2021.

The group of automotive brands said earlier this year that it was investing 700 million euros for the construction of a new production line in Mirafiori, Turin for the Fiat 500 BEV, production of which will start in the second quarter of 2020, following the group’s failed bid to merge with Renault.

Further afield within the group, the Jeep Renegade and Compass will spawn hybrid versions as well, as will the Maserati Levante, all expected to arrive on the market some time next year, the report added.