To ensure Italy’s car manufacturers do not fall behind the rest of the world Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has proposed a package of “assistance that would not be costly for the state”.
But right-wing Italian cabinet minister Roberto Calderoli said there would be a popular revolt if Fiat is given government help, especially in light of the decision for FIAT to form a strategic partnership with US manufacturer Chrysler.
“There would be a popular revolt if once again we were to give aid to FIAT,” said Calderoli on RAI (an Italian state television channel), “We have already paid up to intervene in FIAT so many times and you can’t keep sharing the debt and keeping the profit.”
Last week, FIAT said 2009 would be its “toughest year ever” and revealed a debt pile three times its forecasts. Faced with a dramatic drop in sales, the Italian manufacturer has temporarily shut down plants across the country and suspended thousand of workers.
Prime Minister Berlusconi has called further talks with auto industry associations tomorrow.