Last updated: February 19. 2013 10:56PM - 57 Views

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(AP) Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has announced a 1 billion ($1.32 billion) investment to produce two SUVs at a plant in southern Italy.

In a sign of the importance of the investment, Premier Mario Monti joined Marchionne at the Melfi plant in Basilicata for the announcement Thursday.

Marchionne said the plan to build a pair of SUVs one under the Jeep brand, the other a Fiat would help the automaker staunch losses in Europe and address the underutilization of its Italian plants due to the fall-off in demand caused by the economic crisis.

Marchionne, who also runs U.S. carmaker Chrysler, said the Melfi factory would be modernized to reach a daily capacity of 1,600 vehicles.

Monti welcomed the investment as a sign of trust in Italy's future.

Associated Press
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