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Fiat accepts end to incentives

CEO Marchionne says he 'understands' govt decision

10 February, 18:56
Fiat accepts end to incentives
Fiat accepts end to incentives
Fiat accepts end to incentives

(ANSA) - Turin, February 10 - Fiat on Wednesday said it accepted and understood the government's decision not to offer trade-in incentives for new car buyers this year.

Industry Minister Claudio Scajola said on Tuesday that initiatives to stimulate the economy in 2010 would go to sectors other than automobiles "which also need a push".

Scajola made his remarks after a meeting of European Union industry ministers where there was a consensus on the need for an exit strategy from existing policies aimed at boosting the economy after the recent recession, including the 'cash-for-clunkers' initiatives for cars.

Speaking to the press here on Wednesday, Fiat's chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne, said "we understand the reasons behind this decision. We accept what the minister said and will adapt to it on the market both here and abroad. We have no other choice".

Already last week Marchionne said Fiat would accept the government's decision " without making a fuss". According to the Fiat CEO, without incentives some 350,000 fewer new cars will be sold in Italy this year, from two million sold in 2009.

The government had earlier indicated that it would consider new incentives for the automotive sector but that these would be reduced in terms of value and limited in regard to time compared to those granted in 2009.

The end of last year's incentives has already resulted in an over 50% drop in orders for Fiat in January, compared to the last months of 2009.

This led to Fiat's decision to shut down production at all its plants in Italy the last week in February and the first week in March.

Marchionne on Wednesday also spoke on Fiat's reorganization plan in Italy, confirming a decision to close its plant in Termini Imerse, Sicily, but saying that "no other factory risks closing".

In regard to Scajola's claim to have "8-10" offers for the Sicilian plant, Marchionne said "we have closed no doors but we haven't seen anything yet".

The Sicilian regional government said recently that it was ready to invest 350 million euros for the reconversion of Termini Imerese.

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