UPDATE 1-Fiat sees '02 Italy mkt share in line with '01


(Adds car division breakeven, background, share price)

PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Loss-making Italian industrial giant Fiat expects to maintain its car unit's market share in Italy at 30-31 percent in 2002, in line with 2001, a Fiat spokesman said on Thursday.

The spokesman said government incentives would boost total car sales in Italy by 60-70,000 units, while Fiat Auto would see an increase of around 25,000 vehicles, confirming comments made earlier by the head of Fiat's Lancia division Gianni Coda.

Fiat Auto has been the biggest drag on the results of the overall Fiat group, which reported a first-half operating loss of 426 million euros.

Fiat also confirmed on Thursday that it expected its car division to break even in 2003 and turn a profit in 2004.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the company was sticking by its forecasts made earlier this year, citing comments by Fiat Auto Chief Executive Giancarlo Boschetti at a press conference at the Paris Auto show late on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Boschetti had said the automaker was moving towards deeper cost reductions to deal with significant excess capacity and did not rule out further job cuts.

Fiat Auto itself had a 823 million euro operating loss for the six month period and expects to post a loss of over one billion euros this year compared with operating losses of 549 million euros in 2001.

At 1252 GMT, Fiat shares traded up 1.75 percent at 9.67 euros, having nearly halved in value in the year to date.



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