Fiat is declining to give any date for future Panda investment at its Pomigliano d’Arco plant although it confirmed it had now placed orders for machinery.

The automaker has finally decided to plough EUR700m ($884m) into transferring production of the new Panda from Italy to Poland, after tortuously long negotiations with its unions concerning new work practices.

A vote among Pomigliano’s 5,000 workers saw 62% in favour of the new agreement although the FIOM union has consistently – and bitterly – opposed the deal.

However, Fiat confirmed today (13 July) it had ended talks with FIOM noting: “The thing is done and dusted – we are going ahead without the FIOM union.” FIOM also said it had been excluded from a meeting with Fiat and its other unions last week.

“We have no date for the [Panda] investment,” a Fiat spokesman in Italy told just-auto. “The car goes on sale in the second half of next year, so that is the time frame.

“Orders for the machinery have been placed but we will not say we are paying X to X.”

A statement from Fiat chairman John Elkann noted transferring the Panda work to Italy formed a key part of the manufacturer’s confidence in the Pomigliano plant, although he had a veiled warning for those against the deal.

“The decision to proceed with the planned investments is an important sign of confidence,” he said. “It demonstrates our belief in Italy and our intention to do our part in full. 

“Much is changing around us and today can represent the beginning of a completely new era: success will depend on how each of us embraces this change.”