MILAN, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat SpA said on Thursday the group’s product portfolio and investments in Italy needed to be the object of constant review to bring them into line with changing market trends.
“The European car market is in serious crisis and the Italian market has collapsed to 1970s levels. It is therefore impossible to refer to a project that was born two and a half years ago,” Fiat said in a statement.
Fiat, led by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, issued the statement after politicians and trade unionists expressed concern for Fiat’s domestic investment plans, originally launched under the banner “Fabbrica Italia”.
But in October last year, Fiat said it would no longer use that term because it had become interpreted as “an absolute commitment of the company”.
Fabbrica Italia when first introduced in 2010 envisaged investments of around 20 billion euros ($25.8 billion).
Fiat, which controls U.S. carmaker Chrysler, is feeling the pinch of recession and austerity measures that have prompted consumers to delay new car purchases.
As the industry struggles with weak demand and excess capacity, concern has been voiced that the group could decide to close factories.
On Wednesday union sources told Reuters Fiat aimed to avoid plant closures in its home market by putting factories on short-time working through the autumn.