French ditch home car brands for Italy’s Fiat

French drivers are ditching their country's own brands in favour of Italian car company Fiat, figures released on Monday show.

French ditch home car brands for Italy's Fiat
Fiat is proving more popular in France. Fiat photo: Shutterstock

Fiat sales in France shot up by 4 percent last month, compared to the country’s own brands which fell out of favour with local buyers.

Sales of Renault vehicles in France were down by 13 percent last month, while Peugeot saw a 4.5 percent decline, La Repubblica reported.

The figures continue a positive trend for Fiat, registering 47.7 percent growth in the French market in the first eight months of the year. Overall new car sales were up 13.7 percent in France, the newspaper said.

Fiat’s recent success in France follows the company’s merger with US car giant Chrysler at the start of the year to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The deal, which will involve moving the company's headquarters to London, was approved by shareholders earlier this month.

READ MORE: Ciao! Fiat dumps Italy as HQ heads to London

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne in May laid out new plans to conquer the global auto market, although said the focus would be far from Europe.

Over the next five years the company would develop its strongest markets, such as China and the US, Marchionne said.

READ MORE: Fiat Chrysler lays out global push

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Fiat promises no job cuts in return for state aid: report

Fiat Chrysler has agreed to the conditions laid down for a state-backed €6.3 billion euro loan, including a promise not to relocate or cut jobs, Italy's Sole 24 Ore daily said Sunday.

Fiat promises no job cuts in return for state aid: report
Robots manufactured by Comau are pictured on the assembly line of the Fiat 500 BEV Battery Electric Vehicle. Photo: AFP

The state auditor has approved the guarantee, but it still needs to be signed off on by the economy ministry, the paper said.

The request for state support on such a large loan has proved controversial, particularly with the company's corporate headquarters in Amsterdam.

FCA — which directly employs close to 55,000 people in Italy — has said the loan is essential to help the group's Italy operations and the whole industry to weather the crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will commit to investing 5.2 billion euro in Italy on new and existing projects, and up to 1.2 billion euro on its 1,400 or so foreign suppliers, said Sole 24 Ore, Italy's financial newspaper.


FCA will also pledge not to cut any jobs before 2023.

The loan will be funded by Italy's largest commercial bank Intesa San Paolo and 80 percent guaranteed by export credit agency SACE, the daily said.

The government has said FCA would face sanctions if it failed to stick to the conditions laid down for loan. Sole 24 Ore said the fine for breaking the agreement could be in the region of 500 million euros.