Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
GRUGLIASCO

Fiat says Italian plants remain secure despite tough market

English
© ANSA

Grugliasco, January 30 - Even though the slump in
the European car market that has badly hit auto sales may not
yet be over, Fiat said Wednesday that it has no plans to close
any plants in its Italian homeland.
"I confirm that we will not close plants in Italy," despite
the tough market, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the opening
of a new Maserati factory at Grugliasco, near Fiat's Turin base.
In a later conference call, he elaborated on his concerns
about the market outlook.
"The pressure on prices in Europe has not loosened," said
Marchionne.
"We do not expect an improvement in medium term".
Marchionne's comments came as the automaker announced that
its fourth-quarter net profit reached 102 million euros, up from
43 million euros in the same period last year, boosted by its
profitable Chrysler subsidiary.
The Fiat Group closed 2012 with a net income of more than
1.4 billion euros, beating analysts' expectations.
Fiat owns 58.5% of Chrysler, which earned $1.7 billion US
last year.
At the moment, Marchionne and Fiat are relying on profits
from Chrysler to overcome losses at the Fiat's European
operations.
Fiat also announced it would not pay any dividend on 2012
results to preserve cash.
Despite the financial woes, Marchionne's comments on Fiat's
Italian future were echoed by Fiat Chairman John Elkann, one of
the heirs of the Agnelli family that founded the company and
made it into an international auto giant.
"It has been 10 years since my grandfather (former Fiat
chief Giovanni Agnelli) passed away and since then our
commitment to Italy and to Turin has never faltered," Elkann
said.
"That is because my family and Sergio Marchionne wanted
this, despite the market difficulties.
"We took tough decisions to be able to continue producing
in Italy".
Marchionne, who is also CEO of Chrysler, which the Italian
firm took over in 2009, said he was hopeful Fiat's European
business could break even by 2015 or 2016.
"We are working at the speed of light to achieve this,"
Marchionne said.
"The goals we’ve set for the year ahead reflect a common
desire by everyone from leadership to the shop floor to succeed
and sustain the power of the house we are building," Marchionne
said in a statement.
He added that he has plans to have the two automakers
merged by 2015, based on improving the Fiat brand's performance
in Europe.
Meanwhile in New York, Chrysler Group LLC reported its $1.7
billion US profit was sharply higher than the $183 million
reported in 2011.
Turnover at the Fiat-controlled carmaker increased by 20%
to $65.8 billion in 2012 compared to $55 billion the previous
year.
Chrysler forecast turnover in 2013 would rise to at least
$72 billion, with profits reaching $2.2 billion.
"While we are pleased to have achieved strong financial
results in 2012, the enterprise we are crafting is not
complete," Marchionne, who is also Chrysler Group chief
executive, said in a statement.

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