Auto industry key part of Italy GDP, fair to support FCA if creates jobs: minister

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FILE PHOTO – New Fiat 500 electric cars are displayed at a Fiat Chrysler event held to unveil its first electric model, in Milan, Italy, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN (Reuters) – The auto industry represents a significant share of Italy’s economy and it’s right to support those who create jobs in the country, Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said when asked about Fiat Chrysler’s (FCHA.MI) request for state-backed loans.

The Italian-American group confirmed on Saturday its Italian unit was working with Rome to obtain state guarantees on a 6.3-billion-euro ($6.88 billion) loan facility designed to help Italy’s automotive industry, comprised of approximately 10,000 small and medium-size businesses.

The coronavirus outbreak, which has hit Italy especially hard, slammed the brakes on demand for new vehicles and forced automakers to halt most production, burning cash.

“The crisis must also open up companies to new markets, new development models, favour transformation,” the minister told daily Il Messaggero in an interview. “The automotive industry certainly represents, together with related activities, a significant share of GDP, and it is right to support those who create employment in Italy. We are thinking about it.”

($1 = 0.9155 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, writing by Agnieszka Flak

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