Fiat Focusing on Exports on Weak European Demand Forecast

European automakers are looking to reduce excess production capacity in Europe as demand on the continent continues to be sluggish under challenging economic conditions. In the face of criticism from labor groups and politicians, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and chairman John Elkann met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on the company's plans for future manufacturing investments and export plans, according to a Reuters report.

Marchionne said he does not expect the European auto market to recover until at least 2014. Fiat has postponed the introduction of its next-generation Punto model until 2015. Part of Marchionne and Elkann's meeting with Monti are to set up a working group with Italy's Industry Ministry to examine how to improve Fiat's export capacity.

It's believed some future Jeep and Chrysler models sold in the U.S. could be built in Italy as part of the restructuring. The Fiat brand's sole model sold in the U.S., the 500 subcompact hatch is currently sourced from Toluca, Mexico. European 500 models are built in Poland.

Marchionne and Elkann did not speak to assembled journalists after their five-hour meeting with Monti. Full details of Fiat's investment plans in Italy are expected to be released on October 30.

Source: Reuters

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