The Fiat factory in Córdoba modernizes and takes its history into the future
Friday, 2 de March de 2018
With investments of US$ 500 million, the historic Argentine plant reaches the best international standards
After only 18 months since the announcement of its US$ 500 million in investments, the extensive modernization of the Fiat plant in Córdoba, Argentina was completed. The funds were invested to upgrade the plant and place it at the same level as the most modern automotive plants in the world. The transformation of the Córdoba Industrial Complex was necessary for the factory to reach the quality levels required in the production of Fiat’s newest launch: the Cronos, arriving with enough strength to compete in the coveted Latin American market of compact sedans. It’s proof that, in fact, the new sedan marks a new time for a new Fiat.
The investment, announced in April 2016, was intended not only for the modernization of the plant itself, with the addition of new equipment, technologies and processes, but also for the development of talent, employee training in new skills, the development of suppliers, the rooting of an industrial culture and sustainable practices in the environmental, social and economic pillars.
The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, who visited the factory on the day of the announced investments returned to the site to witness the technological leap implemented in the facilities, and the start of production of the new Fiat Cronos, exclusively produced in Córdoba and soon to be exported to Latin America as well as other potential markets. This has become an important strategic element in the commercial expansion of FCA in the region. “This wonderful car will be a pride for everyone, because every time someone sees a Fiat Cronos anywhere in the world, you will know it was made in Argentina”, said Macri during the inauguration event. “And the improvements implemented here will also reach FCA factories around the world. I congratulate the FCA family for this advance and I am sure we will meet in this same factory in a few months to announce something new and after a few more months we will return to say that it has become a reality. Onward FCA, onward Cordoba, onward Argentina! “, Celebrated the president.
The president for FCA in Latin America, Stefan Ketter, spoke of his satisfaction with the results of the investments and stressed that Cronos is being produced with a high index of nationalization of components. “And we’ve been doing this from the start, thanks to the fact that our suppliers have followed us and invested another $ 110 million, modernizing and building new factories”, Ketter said. “Our goal is to continue to be a point of reference and a symbol of Argentine industrialization”, he said. “The Fiat Cronos achieves the highest levels of quality. It’s a model that marks the conclusion of the great cycle of launches since 2015 so far. We completely renovated our range of products by launching the Fiat Toro, Mobi, Argo, Ducato and now Cronos. We also launched the Jeep Renegade and Compass, as well as the global family of Firefly engines. All this was possible because FCA is the company that invested the most in Brazil in recent years: more than R$ 20 billion (Brazilian real) invested between 2012 and 2017, which completely modernized our plants and our products and empowered our talents”, he added.
FCA president Cristiano Rattazzi in Argentina celebrated the inauguration of the new facilities and the opening of new possibilities, recalling FCA’s historical importance in the region: “FCA is a group that has been a protagonist in Argentina’s industrial development, investing capital, knowledge and training of professionals “. In fact, the Córdoba plant was Fiat’s first industrial unit outside Europe and it represents the strong link of the Argentine nation with the Italian brand, which has been present in the country for over 100 years. “We now have the challenge of operating the complex as a model plant, efficient, highly productive,” Rattazzi said.
The Córdoba factory is a milestone in Argentine industrialization. Fiat was already present in imported vehicles since 1919, but it was precisely at the Córdoba plant that it began its industrial activities in 1954. At that time, the factory did not produce cars, but trucks, tractors, locomotives, large engines, railway material and other products. The cars (including the iconic Fiat 600) were produced at another facility in El Palomar, in the province of Buenos Aires.
In 1996 the Industrial Complex of Córdoba received its first major modernization and began to produce cars. Six hundred million dollars were invested and, like the current reform, it also took only 18 months to complete in order to enable the production of a new sedan: the first generation of Fiat Siena at the time. Since then, the complex has undergone two other waves of investments before its last one: in 2007 the plant was upgraded to the fourth generation of Siena, in addition to the Palio and the Uno, and had its productive capacity elevated to the current 220 thousand units per year; and in 2012 it was prepared to manufacture the new Palio. Now, with the production of Cronos, the history of the Industrial Complex of Córdoba begins a new and important chapter, inserted in the industry 4.0.
The Cordoba Complex occupies an area of 820 thousand square meters, including a transmission production unit. With this modernization for the production of the Cronos, the factory received 195 new robots in its Auto Boby Shop, six robots in three levels in its Paint Unit, transport/handling aerial lines and test benches of the latest generation in the Assembly Unit, incorporation of automation systems for adhesive application, new assembly line, expansion and modernization of the Metrological Hall, incorporating new measuring equipment, new line prepared for assembly and testing of the new automatic gearbox, investments in tools and state-of-the-art production of parts and components at local suppliers, as well as the installation of four new areas: Process Center (an operator training center that includes a state-of-the-art assembly operations simulator), Communication Center, an integration space for employees linked to the production process for quick decisions and better organization), Component Center (which integrates FCA and its supply chain) and Vehicle Center (an area for the final review and guarantee of the highest quality standards).
There are many improvements to the facilities, but, as you saw above, the investments were not limited to that alone. Only in personnel training we spent 160 thousand hours for more than one thousand employees of diverse areas, in addition to the definition of new functions and work strategies, focusing on the value of leadership and continuous improvement. All because of FCA’s conviction that people are the ones who make the difference in the company. Check the video below specially produced to celebrate the modernization of the factory:
Between 2012 and 2017, FCA was the company that invested the most in Latin America. Approximately US$ 7.5 billion were invested in the region which resulted in the implementation of the Jeep Automotive Plant in Pernambuco, Brazil, inaugurated in April 2015, in the modernization of the Fiat industrial complexes in Betim, also in Brazil, and now in Cordoba with the inauguration of the most modern engine plant of the FCA group in the world, for the production of the new global family of Firefly engines. The new cars launched, as a result of these modernization processes, are the Jeep Renegade and Compass and the Fiat Mobi, Toro, Argo and now the Cronos sedan.
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