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'Fiat doesn't want incentives'

'Never received a euro from State,' says Montezemolo

05 February, 18:30
'Fiat doesn't want incentives'

(ANSA) - Rome, February 5 - Fiat doesn't want government incentives in exchange for keeping a loss-making Sicilian plant going, managers said as they went into a meeting at the industry ministry Friday.

"We're not asking for anything, we've said that every which way," said Fiat's head of institutional affairs, Ernesto Auci.

The government has offered the extension of car trade-in incentives this year to keep Termini Imerese near Palermo open and reduce cuts at Fiat's four other plants but Fiat has refused, demanding instead a broader industrial policy.

"In any case, 70% of the cash-for-clunkers scheme went on foreign cars last year," Fiat Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo noted.

Fiat would do all it can to help ease the social impact of the closure of Termini Imerese, Auci told the meeting.

Auci stressed that there were two years to find ''the best industrial alternatives'' for the Termini plant and its ancillaries after it shuts next year, Montezemolo went on to counter claims the Turin giant was not doing enough to defend Italian jobs. "Let's stop all this chatter about Fiat not being an Italian company," he said, stressing that since he became chairman in 2004 the group had spent some 25 billion euros worldwide, of which "more than 16 billion in Italy".

"That's more than two thirds, and we intend to keep it that way". Montezemolo also denied longstanding claims that Fiat had received too much government aid over the years.

"We haven't got a euro on my watch," he said.

Fiat workers struck for four hours across Italy Thursday against cost-cutting plans which will include two-week shut-downs at the end of February and start of March.

Fiat has repeatedly vowed to shut Termini Imerese.

Industry Minister Claudio Scajola has promised workers the plant will have a future, with or without Fiat.

photo: Montezemolo

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