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VOL. 36 | NO. 37 | Friday, September 14, 2012
Fiat to meet gov't on strategy amid closure fears
ROME (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will meet Saturday with Italian Premier Mario Monti to discuss the automaker's "strategic prospects" amid increasing fears about possible plant closures in Italy.
The government announced the meeting in a statement Tuesday, days after two government ministers urged Fiat to clarify its plans given the important role Fiat, Italy's largest employer and most important industrial concern, plays in the country.
In an interview published Tuesday in the Rome daily La Repubblica, Marchionne said he had no plans to move Fiat away from Italy — but he said he has had to review investments and slow down new car rollouts to adapt to a contracting European market to avoid squandering capital.
"In this dramatic situation, I have not spoken about firing, I have not proposed closing plants, and I have never said I wanted to go away," the newspaper quoted Marchionne as saying from Detroit.
Fiat plants in Italy have been running well below capacity, and many workers have been on extended periods of short-term layoffs with reduced pay.
Fiat has said it would provide details about future investments when it presents its third quarter earnings call Oct. 30. Sales in Italy, Fiat's main market in Europe, dropped by 20 percent in the first six months of 2012.
The European car market continued to contract over the summer, down 7.5 percent in July and 8.5 percent in August. Fiat registered a 6.5 percent market share in July and 5.2 market share in August.