Fiat plans to launch 17 new cars in Europe by 2016

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ROME (AP) — Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says he will ramp up production of the Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands in Europe by 2016 to put idled Italian plants back to work.

A new industrial plan for Fiat, which controls Chrysler, announced Tuesday foresees the launch of 17 new car models from Italy from 2013 to 2016.

Marchionne told analysts that the focus is on luxury brands Maserati and Alfa Romeo because they have high enough margins to generate profits as exports. The plan includes a smaller Jeep aimed primarily at Europe.

The plan aims to utilize capacity five Italian factories and not reduce it — as unions have feared.

The CEO also lowered his previous goal for Fiat and Chrysler to produce 6 million cars combined by 2014 to 4.6 million to 4.8 million a year. Fiat expects to produce 4.2 million cars this year.

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