Fiat has announced plans for its alliance partner, GM, to assemble the Alfa 156 at GM's facility in Rayong, Thailand.

Production is expected to commence by the first quarter of 2002 with annual output targeted at some 4,000 cars. Fiat Auto's overall industrial investment will total approximately US$10 million.


Market Profile -

Thailand


"This initiative is important because it forms part of our strategy for strengthening Fiat Auto's presence in markets with high growth potential in the automobile sector," said Pietro Sighicelli, Vice President, Overseas Operations, Fiat Auto S.p.A. at the agreement signing ceremony in Bangkok. "We want to bank upon and fully exploit the high prestige of the Alfa Romeo brand and especially of the Alfa 156, which has won many awards including the "Car of the Year", Europe's most prestigious accolade."

"The assembly contract agreement with GM Thailand is a further step within the strategic industrial alliance established last year between Fiat and General Motors, that calls for the two companies to be allied in costs and remain competitors in the marketplace.", Sighicelli added.

According to William Botwick, President of General Motors Thailand: "Today's agreement demonstrates the benefit of GM's alliance with Fiat in Asia Pacific. Our Rayong facility was designed to be flexible, to allow us to expand production and build several vehicles on the same line at the same time. It also represents a further endorsement of the world class quality level we are building in Rayong that has enabled us to successfully export the Zafira to five continents. We are pleased to be adding the Alfa Romeo 156 to our factory's product lineup. Alfa Romeo is one of the most prestigious names in our industry. It is synonymous with European styling, luxury and quality. By signing today's agreement, Fiat is demonstrating its commitment to the Asia Pacific market. At the same time, Fiat is demonstrating its faith in the GM assembly centre and the people of Thailand," Botwick said.

Alfa Romeos manufactured in Thailand are targeted for export to Asia Pacific markets such as Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Fiat is studying cooperation plans with its current local importer, Thai Prestige Auto, for the distribution of its vehicles.


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