Fiat, the Italian car maker, underlined the dire conditions facing motor manufacturers yesterday as it warned its European profits could be a third lower in 2013 and 2014 than it had hoped for.
Revising projections made in 2010 when European economies seemed ready to recover from the financial crisis, Fiat said it now expected to sell 4.6-4.8 million cars in 2014, not the 6 million it had been looking at.
The maker of the mass-selling Punto and Fiat 500 supermini, as well as marques including Chrysler, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari, said it expected to post a trading loss of €700m (£562m) in Europe this year and break even in the region only in 2015-16.
However, the company managed to post third-quarter trading profits above analysts' forecasts as a jump in sales at Chrysler, its American business, offset a growing loss in Europe. In Milan, the shares fell almost 5 per cent to €3.93.