Fiat extends summer break at Panda plant by two weeks
MILAN (Reuters) -- Fiat will extend the summer break at its Pomigliano plant near Naples, which makes the Panda minicar, by two weeks to adjust output to rapidly falling demand in Europe.
The European car market shrank 6.3 percent to 6.89 million in the first half of 2012, with Italian new-car sales plummeting 19.7 percent to 814,179, according to data from European industry association ACEA.
"The sales crisis does not appear to stop," Fiat said on Wednesday. "The Italian market, which is now back at levels last seen in 1979, is penalizing Fiat, especially in the city car segment where the group owns 60 percent of the market with its Panda and 500 models."
Fiat said the Pomigliano plant would remain shut from August 20-31, after the closure planned for the summer. "In coming months the situation will be continually monitored," Fiat said.
Sales of Fiat Group vehicles in the European and EFTA countries fell 16.5 percent to 456,191 cars in the first six months, according to ACEA.
Fiat will shut a plant, its second such move after closing a factory on the island of Sicily in 2011, unless the carmaker can come up with an economically viable plan to use excess capacity to build cars for North America, CEO Sergio Marchionne said July 3.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this reportContact Automotive News