Italy industry minister pledges action on car sales slump - press

MILAN, July 25 Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:36am EDT

MILAN, July 25 (Reuters) - Italy's industry minister Flavio Zanonato has set up a working group that will make every effort to keep carmaker Fiat's five Italian car factories from closing, he told an Italian newspaper on Thursday.

Fiat is Italy's largest employer, and loses money in Europe because of a five-year decline in demand. Italy is mired in its longest recession since the end of World War II.

After announcing plans to build new models in Italy at the end of last year, it said earlier this month new investments at two of its five plants are on hold after a court ruled that part of Italy's labor statue was unconstitutional.

"I have created a working group for the automotive sector, and strongly hope Fiat will join," said Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato to Rome daily Il Messaggero. "Fiat is an asset for this country. We need to attack and resolve problems surrounding logistics and other bureaucracy." (Reporting by Jennifer Clark)

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