TURIN - Fiat Chairman Cesare Romiti said Fiat sales will rise 15 percent this year to about L90,000 billion ($53 billion).
He said pretax profit would not be less than the L3,805 billion recorded in 1996, and operating profit will show a substantial improvement.
Fiat Auto will be responsible for most of the improved results, driven by the success of the car-buying incentive program started in Italy in January. Fiat hopes the incentives will be continued after 30 September the end originally planned for.
Fiat Auto car sales were up 8.2 percent in the first five months of 1997 to 1.12 million units. In Italy, sales are up 21.4 percent to 485,000 units.
At Fiat's annual shareholders meeting, Romiti said that margins in Fiat's car business started to improve in March. 'Auto margins were much better in March because the incentive scheme took some time to take off, and April and May also showed this positive impact,' he said.