More than 450 people will be laid off due to the announcement that iconic automotive manufacturing would cease operations after 75 years.
The Fiat 126, popularly known as the “Maluch,” was born in the Polish city of Bielsko-Biala, and now the automaker has announced that it would shut down its production unit there.
Starting in February of 2024, the FCA Powertrain facility, which has been in operation since 1948, will be liquidated. Stellantis, the company that emerged from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot Citroen, owns the facility.
According to a union spokesperson who met with the Polish Fiat employees, the shutdown was anticipated. She went on to say that 300 workers had already been let go in the previous year.
The factory’s operating union, the Metalworkers Trade Union, has released a statement blaming the decision on the new European Union regulations governing automobile emissions. Additionally, they said that the drop in engine orders and the implementation of emissions standards by the European Commission were the reasons for the liquidation.
According to the union, the 468-person workforce would be let off between February and December 2024.
FCA Powertrain’s upper management has stated their intention to work with the unions to enable workers “the greatest possible circumstances required to go through the process of professional transformation” in working conditions.
If Stellantis’s former workers are interested in being considered for positions in one of its other Polish production locations, the company has promised to provide them with one.
The communist-era state-owned factory manufactured vehicles under license from Fiat, notably the famous “Maluch” (meaning “small one”) type.
Fiat took over the factory in 1992 when it was privatized.
General Motors, Fiat’s strategic stakeholder then, and the automaker founded FCA Powertrain in 2003.
In March of last year, the Green Agreement was adopted, mandating a complete and utter elimination of carbon dioxide emissions by the specified deadline.
Scania and Volvo Buses, two Polish bus manufacturers, were among the automakers announcing plant closures last year.
Companies like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have announced massive investments in manufacturing in Poland, proving that the country can successfully become a center for manufacturing electric cars and their components.