By on November 8, 2013

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While new car and light truck October sales were up in France, Spain and Germany, giving hope that the European market has finally bottomed out, Italy’s car market is not showing any signs of recovery with car sales down 5.6% from a year ago. Fiat’s European chief, Alfredo Altavilla, remains pessimistic about that brand’s home market. “We are not seeing signs of a recovery in Italy, while in other markets we are seeing the glimmer of recovery where the market has touched bottom,” Altavilla told Reuters. “The real problem in Italy continues to be lack of consumer spending.”

Altavilla confirmed that Fiat still aims to reach break-even in Europe in 2015 or 2016 as the company forecast previously. Despite the fact that Italy, where Fiat has had about a 29% market share for years, makes up about a tenth of Fiat’s European sales, Altavilla said the company’s fortunes are not based on its Italian market share. “We are not and we never have been,” he said. “We are bound to our economic targets and we have to find the right connection between market share and economic results.”

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30 Comments on “Fiat’s European Chief Altavilla says Italian Market Not Showing Signs of Recovery...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The Italian’s with their archaic political system, dismal workplace regulations, corruption and poor judgement can’t ever expect to achieve what their northern Euro friends can achieve economically.

    Italy will become a low wage manufacturer. Italy appears to be broken into two parts, the richer northern and poorer ‘Mediterranean’ south.

    Fiat will eventually get back onto it’s feet but Fiat is sort of like Chrysler it had a poorish brand name it has to atone.

    I noticed when in France in the middle of this year that there are a number of older commercial vehicles on the road, especially in the southwest of the country.

    But with a burdensome regime of taxation and handouts I can’t see most of Europe achieving. The US is similar with it’s protection/subsidisation of industry.

    For Italy, Europe and even the US to rise they seriously have to look at how to reduce subsidisation and protectionism of industry.

    Let the deadwood fall away, then companies that are innovative, efficient will rise. But socialist workers organisations like unions and arts degreed individuals will defeat this.

    All countries have to live within their means, not at 105% and hope inflation will heal all.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong – but aren’t we current living 130% above our means – which is down from 140% a couple of years ago?

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      As long as the US dollar is the currency to which everything else is compared to we can keep borrowing. It’s not a good thing but, it would be stupid not to use it while we have it.

      When the reserve currency changes the debt valued in dollar will be worth nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Onus
        The US dollar as the strongest reserve currency is nearing the end of its life.

        That was one of the reasons for the Euro.

        Just look at what is going on in the world of currencies since the fracturing of the USSR.

        I would think within 5 years the US currency will not reign supreme.

        After this weekend you will see a significant change in the Chinese. The effects like the changes that occurred in 1978 when China started to open up took a couple of decades to develop to where they are now.

        This latest change will be the opening up of its financial, currency, etc markets. China will build on service related industries and not be reliant on export for growth.

        Also, the Chinese are developing and ‘industrial corridor’ from the west inland of the country to India. This will have significant ramifications in the wider Asian continent.

        I think you have to stop being so ‘US Centric’ and look at what is going on outside of your borders.

        http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/30/economy/ambitious-china-goes-land-roving

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          You’re missing two things: 1, the Euro might not survive, since the northern countries’ insistence on a strong currency impoverishes the southern states, and 2, the US dollar is the main currency for oil transactions. The US has huge reserves of shale oil and the technology to bring it to market.

          Shale strikes fear into the hearts of OPEC, particularly the Saudis, but all other industry-based countries. An energy self-sufficient America not only makes the 8-10 million BPD America imported available to market (lowering the price), but energy will be so cheap in America that energy intensive industries are already moving operations back to the US, where even the cost of labor has become much more competitive.

          With low cost energy and labor restoring America’s industrial base, and the lack of another country with a currency/economy strong enough to take over, will keep the US dollar the reserve currency for the foreseeable future.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Lorenzo
            If the Euro doesn’t survive the the Mediterranean countries will have massive a re-alignment. Several countries in the EU will then rise. The Germans will become less competitive. Debt still has to be paid down or written off.

            Shale oil isn’t the nirvana that most in the US think it is. How many other countries have large deposits of shale oil and gas?

            So, the advantage for the US is reduced. The US still has to compete on the global stage. I have never stated the US will not be a huge global market, just reduced relative to the past.

            The US will encounter a similar experience as the British. It will take several decade for the change to occur. Changes for such a large influence like the US will not happen overnight.

            Change in the US will be hard for some.

            Control of trade is what gives a country power. The reduction in the amount of trade or the control of high value trade a country has the less influence it will have.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Well, Big Al, you might be making a mistake comparing Britain with the US. The former has one fifth the population and lost its source of natural resources with its empire. The US has far more resources within its large share of the North American continent, and a far less socialist-strangled economy, allowing it to get at those resources.

            I think you underestimate the size and location of American shale, as well, most of it at shallow depth and so close to America’s oil and gas infrastructure – ports and refineries that it’s practically underneath them. That’s important because it’s illegal to export American crude. That’s the reason West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices are lower than Brent – the US oil system is partially closed to the world market, and that will lead to a glut inside the US and radically lower internal energy costs. That’s what built American prosperity in the first place, ample resources and cheap energy.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          First time I have ever been called “US Centric.”

          My post was from a direction i never take. The first paragraph is pure sarcasm. It’s sort of taking a conspiracy theorists view point. Who knows it may happen.

          It’s true but i do not think that’s what we should do. I’m conservative when it comes to monetary policy.

          Personally i like to be optimistic. The truth is we humans are bad at predicting the future anything can happen.

          I’m well traveled a lot so my view isn’t from my american viewpoint. I see it from every direction.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Onus, what is stupid is massive debt and even more massive future obligations. It is a recipe for catastrophe, regardless of the bullsht you have been fed about the wisdom of massive government spending and debt. It will not end well. You are young Onus. You are being duped. You are the one who is getting fked. The benefits are all flowing to the older vampires who will be dead by the time you reap the whirlwind.

        Turning America into Europe has been the goal of the American left for many decades. They have largely succeeded. Now we have massive welfare, an immigration issue you are not allowed to talk about, economic stagnation, low employment, enormous, oppressive, omnipresent government, colossal debt, entitlements we have promised that we cannot possibly pay, a shrinking middle class and socialist class division and bitterness.

        The left so controls the conversation that you cannot even discuss most of these issues or you will be accused of some character deficit, evil prejudice, or psychological disorder.

        Because of this, for the first time in our history, we are in decline. It was not inevitable. It was a choice.

        • 0 avatar

          thelaine, what while a lot of what you say can be perceived as relatively true, the fac[t is the US is in a very relative decline mostly because you are a mature country. the wild open days of youth, and unrelenting grwoth are behind the US I think. The way ahead is much more difficult and dangerous and I don’t know and can’t tell you how to do it, but I think it has less to do with government than with the fact that most if not all of America’s wide open spaces have been civilized and thusly the margins for grroth and their corresponding high yields are much less at hand. Just saying and I respectfully respect your opinion.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          This is not my view point! It was totally sarcastic! I think we should reduce debt. I’m a fiscally conservative. As in we shouldn’t spend more than we receive. Personally my feeling is taxes need to go up and there is plenty of room to do so and we will still have lower taxes than Europe and no deficit. Instead of fighting about getting rid of the limited social programs we have now. I personally think we should have better general social programs like medical leave, maternity leave, more vacation time. But, someone always pays and if we aren’t paying for it we aren’t getting it. I guess now i show my socially liberal side.

          America is nothing like Europe. For those who are well traveled you will figure this out in 2.5 seconds. America by far is still every man for himself, low taxes, and limited government in comparison.

          • 0 avatar

            Europe is not a good example to follow except of Germany. Europe is a dying continent. I see the future of Europe to be bleak, essentially gradual decay. Demise of Europe was consistently predicted for 100 years now. I do not know how many times we need to say that but socialism does not work – it is a path to a gradual decay. Of course there are countries like Germany or Japan who are well organized and disciplined but even they suffer population decline and lack of growth. I feel very sorry for Germans and Japanese. US should measure itself against China, forget Europe and Russia.

            When eventually money run out all social programs will be cut to bone. No country can support so many people who do not work but consume like there is no future. There is simply no way around it. Yeah and taxes will go up to 90% for those who work.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not really sure Al, that the rules in Italy are the problem per se. As I see it, Italy’s problem are twofold.

      Internally, the problem is adherence to those rules. Whenever I here talk of political, tax, labor reform I cringe. Fact is that most modern systems out there are quite acceptable. When you talk reform, there’s is never really total reform, just another ladded layer of complexity whose logic often conflicts with what existed before making thins that more difficult. Whne you move the goalposts the game changes and the moving of the goalposts is never neutral. When the goalposts have been in place for a long time, people understand the game. The problem is if they adhere to the rules.

      he second Italian problem is international. Now saddled with the EU, Italy has to play by what has proven to be a game skewed to benefit some over others. Compound that on the supralevel to the more local level, in the inherent conflicts within, being that the supralevel bears little accountability and you got yourself a problem. Before monetary union, Italy wa getting by and changing bit by bit. Whacked with a monetary union set up to serve others, no wonder trouble has come.

      Rules are rules and they’re never good, bad, neutral or whatever. The problem with rules is changing them all the time. To oversimplify: soccer. The rules are basically the same forever. People understood and played within them to the best of their ability. The interpretation of said rules has evolved overtime, and now follows Europe’s lead. That has made the game harder for those like South Americans that used to plame the same game but in a different way. Who’s to say who’s right or wrong? The fact is that the changing of the goalposts in soccer has favored European play (often with enthusiastic, but mislead South American support). That in a nutshell is what’s happening to Italy. They played the game pretty well before, but the rules changed as did interpretations. They are playing a game that is skewed against them.

      This from a guy with a backgroung in law. I should love rule changes then. Well, from a financial side it’s great as changing laws make it easier to make money. But from a philosophical standpoint, I think changing laws all the time, in the way we do it in contemporary times, is harmful to most out there.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Marcelo
        I don’t dispute that the changing of ‘rules’ is hard. I’m not stating the removal of ‘rules’.

        But the transitioning of ‘rules’, the modernising is what I’m discussing. You used the word modern, but in what sense is modern?

        Do you consider more rules and regulations modern?

        I see resistance to change, this has to be expected. Change makes us insecure about the future.

        A realistic regulatory framework is needed, the system most of the “West” is working under is a throwback from the system of 1st world, Iron Curtain and 3rd world mentality. This no longer exists. The ‘West’ still thinks it reigns supreme, but a who’s expense? We are broke.

        The Italians since Mussolini has had a change of government every 15 months or so. This isn’t stable to allow for change to be implemented effectively. Also most of the Mediterranean countries were relatively poor and mismanaged.

        Since gaining acceptance into the Euro many of these Mediterranean countries had access to their northern neighbours credit rating.

        Sort of like allowing your teenagers access to your credit card.

        Until the Mediterraneans countries become accountable for the use of ‘others’ money they will spend and blame others for their indebtedness. Now the pocket money is managed for them the ‘teenagers’ (Italians, Greeks, Cyprus, Spaniards, Portuguese) a whining and crying.

        They only have themselves to blame for poor governess. So much for ‘modern’ rules.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m using modern on a broad sense. Since the establishment of modern democracies, with permanent Parliaments, the temptation to tinker with the rules all the time, for no ggod reason, and while at it, almost by coincidence, benefitting your friends, is just too great. Make no bones about it, I think a strong Parliament is essential to our world, and guarantees us common folk our protections, but I can’t say it’s a system not pliable to manipulation and essentially fragile.

          Now I’m not saying rules should never change. Otherwise we’d still be stuck in a monarchial stasis. But rules should only be changed when they’re rotten to the core. I don’t know if that’s the case.

          The case of Europe is pretty emblematic. The Scandinavians as a whole have not given in to Germany, neither has the UK. they are better off at the moment. I don’t think that will last forever, but this state of affairs could be pointed as proof that the rest of Europe was prey to Brussels’s siren song.

          As resistance to change, what change are we talking about? Should we all adopt what been called the Anglo-Saxon model? The EU model? The Chinese?

          All those changes of government you mentioned in Italy. Yes very bad. Like you said every 1 months or so, a new group comes along trying to establish their agenda. Not stable, weak, and reform-manic.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is that countries should chart their own course. Following someone else’s lead is usually good for the leader and not so much for the rest (Europe’s case). Integrate into the modern world, but keep your independence and space of manouver is important. For bigger countries this is easier, but many small countries have succesfully played the game not following anyone’s lead.

          De-regulamentation or over-regulamentation is rarely good. But the sweet spot is very case by case.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Marcelo
            We have to adapt to change that permits growth. But this growth might not necessarily be centred around OECD economies, like in the past.

            It’s inevitable that our standard of living will drop or stagnate as we have to share the globe’s resources with others.

            I think this is the issue that is affecting most. Learning how to adjust to near zero growth and to share with others.

            OECD economies have become too dependent of growth at their beckoning, now the OECD represents only 50% of global wealth and are becoming more reliant on others. These others are also competing for the same resources. This balance of global GDP will tilt more and more towards the ‘others’.

            The ‘others’ are developing their economies around the future available resources, not like us who are living in economies based on the ‘good old days’ in the past.

            We need to adjust.

            This pressure on resources will increase significantly over time. Look at the price of oil. In the past when the ‘West’ sneezed the price of oil dropped. Now it still is being sold when we have the flu.

            OECD companies have to find other avenues for income and not rely on governments to continue protecting and subsidising them. We can’t afford it.

            A country like Brazil has large potential for growth and improvement, it will occur ever so slowly. You guys will eventually have a similar standard of living as us in the ‘West’.

            Even if Brazil has huge debt and can’t meet it obligations again there is still a huge amount of room for development in the future. We OECD economies have little room for growth.

    • 0 avatar
      FrankCanada

      Listen you useless Australian, Italy is Europe. There is no Europe without Italy. The hunnic germans and whatever anglo-saxons are is not real Europe, and they will always fail.

      So called Northen europeans, here in Canada are falling to pieces, and are on welfare, and make horrible enployee’s.

      Italy is the eighth econimic power in the world, and europe’s 2nd manufacturing power.

      And they did it all with out dirty arab blood money, unlike germany & england’s silent investors. What Fiat need’s is Qatar, or who ever is behind volkswagan, or bmw.

      And when it comes to wealth, Italians in general are about three times richer than their German counter parts.

      But I am sick seeing lazy left wing anglo-saxon, german loving nutbars, commenting on Italy, And calling it South Europe or ‘Mediterranean’. No we are Europe. You are a bunch of huns, & don’t belong in Europe. Maybe you should move back to china.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      The area around Milan is one of the richest areas in Europe and living within your means is a recipe for recession.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    But the US left loves Europe, Big Al.


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