Fiat plans to use Bertone’s Turin manufacturing plant for building “niche vehicles,” according to CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Fiat is one of five firms bidding for the collapsed Italian coachbuilder and Marchionne says he is “very optimistic” about its chances of securing the business.
“We made an honest and industrially rational offer to try to revive the company,” said Marchionne.
He would not elaborate on what those niche models might be, saying only that they would be sold in Europe and North America.
Fiat has recently acquired a 20 per cent stake in Chrysler and will relaunch the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands in the US in 2011.
Italian unions had feared Fiat would use Bertone’s production capacity for manufacturing mass-produced models such as the next generation-Lancia Ypsilon, but Marchionne’s comments mean this move is now highly unlikely.