Because of a fall-off in orders, Fiat on Jan. 26 called a two-week production halt in Italy from February 22, temporarily laying off some 30,000 workers. "We announced today that all factories will stop from February 22 to March 7," a Fiat spokesman said.
"The (temporary) layoff announced today should be seen in relation to this month's orders trend," Fiat said. "After a positive period at the end of 2009, orders taken in Italy in January have shrunk drastically to a level that is even lower than that recorded in January last year when the market was in serious crisis."
"Anticipating that this negative trend will continue, it is necessary to adjust production levels to demand."
The announcement came the day after Fiat reported a larger-than-expected net loss for 2009 but forecast a return to profit this year as long as European governments continued incentives to buy eco-friendly vehicles.
The automaker suffered a net loss of 848 million euros (US$1.2 billion) in 2009 compared with a profit of 1.72 billion euros the previous year.
Fiat imposed a number of temporary layoffs during the height of the global financial downturn in 2008 and 2009.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010