December 12, 2012 / 12:10 PM / 5 years ago

Italy PM Monti says domestic car market must be turned around

ROME, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Wednesday that slump in Italian car sales -- which in the month of October fell to their lowest since 1977 -- has been underestimated for too long and that it must be turned around.

"The decline of the car sector in the European and Italian markets is well known," Monti said at a conference of the country's car making lobby in Rome.

"Italian industry in particular has suffered for some time in this situation in which the car sector has slowly but surely become less competitive, but (the decline) has been underestimated."

Western European car sales have fallen 7.3 percent to 10.33 million vehicles so far this year, according to latest data from Brussels-based industry group ACEA, led by double-digit declines in crisis-hit Greece, Italy and Portugal.

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