Fiat bucks trend in flat European market as sales increase

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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MILAN, Italy - Italian automaker Fiat bucked the trend in a contracting European market in March with a 14.7 per cent increase in sales.
The rise came amid an overall drop in European sales of nine per cent and Fiat was the only European automaker to see sales grow and its market share rose to 9.2 per cent, from 7.4 per cent in March 2008.
The Italian automaker is in talks to take a minority share of Chrysler in a deal aimed at saving the North American automaker from insolvency.
But Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne has said the deal, which must be reached by April 30, could fail if U.S. and Canadian unions aren't willing to make concessions that would cut costs.
Talks between the Canadian Auto Workers and Chrysler are set to resume on Monday after a two-week hiatus.
Fiat said its sales grew more than 200 per cent in Germany, where the market was up 40 per cent thanks to a government incentive program. Fiat grew three times the market rate in France for a 25 per cent increase in volumes. Italian car sales were flat, despite a government incentive program.
Fiat produces cars under the Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands.

Organizations: North American, Fiat Group, Canadian Auto Workers

Geographic location: Italy, U.S., Germany France

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