For Italy, a diesel phaseout already means new job cuts

Europe

European plans to gradually phase out diesel powertrains over the next decade are already taking a toll on Italy’s car industry, with a wave of job cuts at suppliers and parts makers around the country. 

German supplier Robert Bosch on Thursday said it would eliminate 700 jobs over the next five years at its plant in the southern Italian city of Bari — more than 40 percent of the workforce there, according to the FIM-CISL union.

About 80 percent of production at the Bari plant is linked to diesel powertrains, according to the unions.

On the same day, Italian supplier Marelli said it expects 550 voluntary redundancies from its managerial ranks.

Marelli, owned by U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co., said the plan would be carried out by June, citing the need to cut costs “in light of the car industry’s particularly adverse conditions.” 

Industry insiders have decried the country’s failure to plan for the diesel phaseout.

Sergio Fontana, who heads the Confindustria business lobby’s chapter in Puglia, the region where Bari is capital, told daily La Stampa that Italy is suffering from a “total absence of a national strategy” to deal with the transition away from internal combustion engines. The lack of preparation “risks driving the entire automotive industry out of Italy.”

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