Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday said his company had no plans to abandon Italy, following a recent controversy erupted over the Italian carmaker's plan to reduce its economic presence in Italy due to poor economic growth.
Still, Fiat, Italy's largest private sector employer, is facing criticism from labor unions and government officials for rolling out a plan first laid out in 2010.
According to it, Fiat would spend as much as 20 billion euros (26 billion U.S. dollars) to modernize Italian production facilities and double the country's capacity to produce new vehicles.
That plan was "put on hold" earlier this year with 90 percent of the total budget unspent, amid economic problems in Italy that has seen the country's car market erode to its size in the 1970s.
Though Marchionne said Fiat would remain in Italy for the long haul, he did not say the growth plan would be restarted and he did not promise the company would refrain from future plant closures and layoffs.
These issues are likely to be on the table when Marchionne meets Prime Minister Mario Monti on Saturday to discuss the company's plans.
Fiat, which controls U.S. automaker Chrysler, now derives more revenue from the U.S., Brazil, and from Eastern Europe than from Italy. But the company's plans in its native country are considered important because they have a big impact on investor and corporate confidence in the country's future.
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