Fiat plant reaches five million milestone

Fiat’s SATA plant in San Nicola di Melfi has produced five million vehicles since the first Fiat Punto was built there in 1993.

The milestone vehicle was a red Punto Evo 1.4 Emotion, Fiat’s answer to the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio models.

Fiat celebrated the event with a ceremony attended by provincial dignitaries and the director of the SATA plant, Nicola Intrevado.

The plant has been producing the Punto Evo since its launch in September 2009 as well as the second generation Punto and Grande Punto models. The plant also manufactured 870,000 units of the Lancia Ypsilon.

Punto Evo sales have been steady in the UK, with over 700,000 units sold so far and a further 14,000 expected to be sold in 2010.

The San Nicola di Melfi plant, which took two years to build, was the first Italian factory to be awarded the Silver Level certification by World Class Manufacturing (WCM).

WCM certification is an international standard for production cycle organisation and comes in four levels; Bronze, Silver, Gold and World Class.

The San Nicola di Melfi plant was awarded Bronze level in 2007 and Silver last year from the WCM Auditing Body.

One UK plant closing in on the five millionth vehicle milestone is the Ellesmere Port Vauxhall site. The plant has currently made around 4.5 million vehicles, and production of the extended range electric hybrid Ampera is expected to be produced there from next year.