Closed Fiat plant to build Cherys for European market

The Cherys will be shipped from China to Sicily in the form of CKD kits.

Fiat's historic Termini Imerese plant was opened on the island of Sicily in 1970 to build the rear-engined Fiat 500. Over the years, numerous models have rolled off of its assembly lines, including the Fiat Panda, the Fiat Punto, and more recently the Lancia Ypsilon.

The plant was closed by Fiat on November 24th of this year and sold to investor Massimo Di Risio for the token amount of one euro. Di Risio is one of Italy's largest auto dealers and plans on using the factory to assemble four Chery models shipped from China as complete knock-down kits as early as late next year. The Cherys would initially be sold on the Italian market but exports to other European countries would soon follow.

Di Risio has been trying to sell Cherys in Italy for several years now. They cars are rebadged and sold under Di Risio's DR brand, created specifically for the occasion. He owns a plant north of Naples, Italy, that manufactures the DR5 (Chery Tiggos), the DR1 (Chery M1) and the DR2 (Chery A1), though none of them have caught on in Italy and sales have been dismal.

For this and other reasons, Di Risio is reportedly in financial trouble and his operations are largely held up by miscellaneous grants and loans from the Italian government.

Di Risio claims that the problems are not serious and is convinced that he will reach his goal of eventually producing 65,000 DR-badged Cherys a year in Termini Imerese.

1.'Italian dealer's plan...' view
2.'Fiat : Termini, c'est...' view