It’s official; Fiat plans to build up to 280,000 Jeep and Alfa Romeo compact SUVs per year from 2012. The upcoming Alfa Romeo Suv will be made in Turin at Mirafiori plant, where Fiat agreed to invest 1.3 billion euro in re-tooling and technology, as part of a planned euro20 billion investment in Italian plants.

Production will start in the third or fourth quarter of 2012, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed during a call with analysts Jan. 27.

Jeep will take around 150,000 units of the 280,000 annual production, with Alfa taking a minimum of 100,000 units. At least half of the models will get exported to the US – the Alfa SUV is crucial to the firm’s US relaunch – and the other half will remain in Europe. These volume expectations are “preliminary estimates,” a Fiat spokesman said.

The new SUV from Alfa Romeo will be aimed at the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, a Fiat spokesman said.

The Mirafiori plant employs around 5,500 dedicated staff for car-making and it is one of Italy’s biggest, along with with the Melfi plant in southern Italy. Beside new SUV, the plant is expected to begin making Alfa Romeo Giulia sedans and wagons late next year