[QODLink]
Europe
Extended lay-off for Fiat workers
Automaker lays off 48,000 in Italy for a month as demand for cars falls.
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2008 06:48 GMT
Fiat sold 25 per cent less cars in November 2008 than the same month last year [GALLO/GETTY]

Fiat has shut down most of its Italian plants for a month, laying off 48,000 workers for an extended holiday.

The action comes as the world financial crisis is causing a critical drop in demand for new cars.

The shutdowns through mid-January affect 14 of Fiat's 20 factories in Italy and more than half of its Italian workforce, AP news agency said on Tuesday.

Under the temporary layoff scheme, part of the workers' salaries are paid by a government-administered fund that includes industry contributions.

Fiat sold 71,000 new cars in November, which is 25 per cent less than the 94,600 cars sold the same month a year earlier.

The Turin-based automaker earlier laid off workers for periods this autumn.

Fiat Group Automobiles said in a statement on Tuesday that despite the drop in sales, its European market share had improved slightly to 8.3 per cent, up from 8.2 per cent a year earlier.

'Consolidation necessary'

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of  Fiat Group Automobiles, has said he foresees a consolidation in the car industry.

"Independence in this business is no longer sustainable," Automotive News quoted him as saying, leading to speculation in the Italian media of possible partners for Fiat.

Marchionne said that "the only way for companies to survive is if they make more than 5.5 million cars a year.''

Fiat sold a total of 2.2 million cars and light commercial vehicles in 2007.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.