In a joint press release from the Italian Government and Fiat S.p.A., Fiat affirmed its commitment to preserving the Group’s industrial presence in Italy, including through the financial security provided by the Group’s activities outside Europe. The statement fits within the context of Italy’s economic austerity measures which have impacted Fiat and other manufacturers in the country and across Europe, evidenced by the recent decline of vehicle sales. Bloomberg reports, however, that sales of gas fuelled vehicles (natural gas and propane) are bucking the downward trend by delivering 114,226 new vehicle sales in August — rising to 11.6% of the market compared with 4.9% last year.
Bloomberg cites Daniele Chiari, Fiat’s head of product planning for Europe: “The competition is higher as every carmaker is now trying to surf the wave. We want to strengthen our leadership with new models,” like natural gas versions of the Panda city car and 500L compact wagon. Fiat will present its 2013 Panda Natural Power at the 2012 Paris Auto Show starting September 29.
According to the joint press release, Fiat intends to reorient its existing business model in Italy to capitalize on the potential of export markets, particularly outside Europe.
In addition, the Group expressed its intention to continue development of the proprietary skill and knowledge base of its Italian activities in key areas such as research and innovation. Fiat also confirmed its intention to resume investment in new product development in Italy, at the appropriate time, to ensure it is positioned to take full advantage of a European recovery.
The government expressed appreciation for what Fiat is accomplishing at the international level and the undertaking given during the meeting to play an active role in the national effort to overcome current economic and financial difficulties.
Representing the government at the meeting at Palazzo Chigi in Rome were Prime Minister Mario Monti, Ministers Corrado Passera, Elsa Fornero and Fabrizio Barca, and Under Secretary Antonio Catricalà. Representing Fiat Group were Chairman John Elkann and CEO Sergio Marchionne.