Fiat's launch of its Panda city car has also seen the re-birth of the Italian carmaker's Pomigliano plant near Naples.

In 2008, Pomigliano was struggling, under used and producing the ill-loved Alfa 159.
Three years on it has been transformed, refurbished, re-tooled and re-trained. It now stands as a benchmark production facility not only for the Fiat Group, but alliance partner Chrysler as well.

Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said: "Those who doubted what could be accomplished should come here and see for themselves. It is our intention to help build a new industrial culture in the south of Italy and we have delivered on a promise made four years ago to restructure the whole plant which is now the most modern in Italy and probably in Europe.

"We have spent EUR100m (US$130m) on this project and it is not a quick fix, or something we have done for appearances sake. This is a plant that demands to be developed and kept open."

Many think that this is now the last chance for the Pomigliano factory and one reason why Fiat took the decision to build the latest generation Panda there, a high volume model which sells well across Europe.

Marchionne said: "Production had fallen to unsustainable levels and the factory was in danger of closing until we took the courageous decision at the end of 2009 to bring the Panda back to Italy from Poland.

"We have completely re-tooled the plant and it is now ready for production. But what was even more important than the financial investment we made is the moral obligation we had to look after the people who live and work here.

"This is an example of how Italy can work. There is a lot of apprehension around the world over the country's economic situation so we need to show that we can get up and do things and not just talk about it.

"There are a lot of people in Italy who can stand in front of a television camera and talk a good story. We need more people actually doing things."

Pomigliano can build 300,000 cars a year and Marchionne believes this is enough capacity for the Panda.

The production systems put in place also allow for additional models to be added to the assembly lines.

Marchionne also stressed there is still a future for the Polish plant at Tychy. Production of the Lancia Ypsilon will fill some of the vacuum while the previous model Panda will remain in production there for the time being.

"Tychy has been a star performer in the Fiat manufacturing network and the decisions we have taken are not a sigh of disrespect or that we will pull out of the country," he said.

"As of now, Pomigliano is the best plant we have in the Fiat and Chrysler manufacturing network and in manufacturing terms it is the shape of things to come in Europe, North America and Asia."

Marchionne confirmed the next industrial investment by the Fiat Group will be at the Mirafiori plant in 2013.