Fiat plans to re-focus on homeland, exports

Fiat plans to re-focus on homeland, exports

Fiat plans to re-focus on homeland, exports

Italian PM Monti (3rd R) meets with Welfare Minister Fornero (2nd R) and Economic Development Minister Passera (4th R) and Fiat Chairman John Elkann (unseen). REUTERS photo

Italian carmaker Fiat has restated its commitment to remain in Italy and says it will refocus its Italian plants on exports.

Fiat, which also controls U.S. carmaker Chrysler, made the assurances over the weekend after CEO Sergio Marchionne met with Premier Mario Monti amid growing concerns that the crisis would force plant closures.

Fiat sales in Italy dropped by 20 percent in the first half of the year, and plants have been greatly underutilized.

Fiat said in a joint government statement that it will invest in Italy to prepare new products for launch when the market recovers, and that it has invested 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in the last three years, The Associated Press reported.

Fiat investments have come under scrutiny since it retreated on plans to invest 20 billion euros over five years due to uncertainty.

Nothing positive until 2014

Marchionne said earlier last week that he would keep Fiat Italy alive with what the company earns from plants in other countries, in an open implication of facilities in Turkey, Brazil and Poland.

He forecasted nothing positive about the markets until 2014.