Fiat denies CEO said group could leave Italy image

Fiat issued a statement on Thursday denying that its CEO Sergio Marchionne had said in a radio interview that the group could leave Italy.

Italy’s Radio 24 corrected a transcript of what the station previously said was an interview with Marchionne, removing a reference were Marchionne was quoted as saying „we can leave Italy”. The revised transcript sent to journalists by Radio 24 removed all reference to the earlier quoted statements about the possibility that Fiat could leave Italy.

When asked in the interview with Radio 24 whether Fiat could leave Italy, Marchionne answered: „We are a multinational, we have economic and industrial operations outside Italy. We will carry on.” “We sell cars in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, China, everywhere in the world…The survival of Fiat cannot be questioned,” Marchionne added.

The issue of Fiat leaving Italy is very sensitive in the country, as the group’s five car producing factories are losing money and the unions are fearing that the growing integration with Chrysler might lead to a scaling down of the group’s local operations.

Marchionne recently announced the discontinuation of national labour contracts from January 1 2012, generating an angry protest by metalworkers union FIOM, which threatened to call a general strike. Fiat’s CEO refused to be intimidated. „We are talking about billions of euros of investments, not about opening a supermarket. Fiat cannot be the victim of a minority,” Marchionne was quoted as saying by Reuters.