Fiat CEO says car aid should not be selective

TURIN, Italy Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:39am EST

TURIN, Italy Nov 19 (Reuters) - Possible government aid for Europe's ailing car industry should be broad based and not selective, Fiat SpA FIA.MI Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said on Wednesday.

The European Union is studying support for its carmakers, and Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen has signalled support for a German offer to help the Opel unit of General Motors Corp (GM.N). [ID:nLI591060]

"Either it (aid) is for everyone or for no one," Marchionne said on the sidelines of a conference between Italian and Brazilian business leaders.

Marchionne said it was necessary to monitor developments in the United States "because it could affect the equilibrium in Europe too".

U.S. auto executives told Congress on Tuesday that their industry was teetering on the brink of disaster as they pleaded for a $25 billion aid package despite political opposition to another multi-billion-dollar government bailout.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that while it would not be a good thing to let an automaker fail, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) fund should not be used to prevent such a failure. [ID:nWBT010150]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday any measures the United States may take should not harm European carmakers.

Marchionne said if support was given to Opel in Europe it would be impossible to exclude other producers.

The Fiat chief said he had not asked Italy for support since it would not be right at this time.

"Whether Fiat needs (support) or not is another question. If support were forthcoming it would be appreciated," he said. (Reporting by Gianni Montani; Writing by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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