Italy: Strike halts all five Fiat factories image

Italian carmaker Fiat has halted production at all five of its domestic plants due, in part, to the ongoing strike by vehicle transporter drivers.

Lorry drivers have been protesting over taxes on petrol passed in the austerity budget of Prime Minister Mario Monti since January, maintaining road blocks.

Fiat management announced March 16 that a job action by car haulers had forced the closure of several of the company’s plants.

“Yesterday, the strike resulted in the closure of the Melfi plant and today it has brought about the closure of two other sites,” the company announced.

“Meanwhile, we have two plants on technical stoppage [for retooling], which means that five of our facilities are closed.”

The company said the action has delayed vehicle production by 20,000 units, a loss that would be “very difficult to recover this during the year.”

Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne met Friday with Prime Minister Mario Monti and said their meeting was “perfect,” ANSA said.

Fiat forecast a 10 percent impact on market share for March if drivers don’t resume work in the coming days.

Cars sales in Europe this year are forecast to decline by nearly 5 percent to 12.9 million units, according to the Center for Automotive Research – down from 15.7 million in 2000.