Reuters Edge

Fiat CEO says financial crisis hurting industrials

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The head of the Italian industrial giant Fiat FIA.MI said on Saturday that the U.S. financial crisis had brought one part of his company's business to "an absolute standstill" and predicted the lingering effects of the meltdown would be a "phenomenal repricing of risk" that wouldn't spare the global industrial sector.

Speaking to Reuters as he walked the floor at an Italian trade show in Chicago, Sergio Marchionne, Fiat’s chief executive, said the U.S. meltdown had shown the “ugly side of an unregulated market.” He said he approved of the latest response by U.S. policymakers, though he said he was “not sure they had much of a choice.”

He said the freeze in credit markets had made it hard for Fiat’s farm and construction equipment units to finance sales -- and said the company was hardly unique.

“It’s going to be a lot more difficult for companies to get credit,” he said.

Marchionne was in Chicago to show the company’s new Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione automobile at the Italian Style Expo.

Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Eric Walsh