Fricke turns loss to profit at Fiat

Frankfurt/Main. Fiat Germany made a profit in 2003 despite selling fewer cars.

"We managed to return to profit in 2003 and have increased our turnover from 1.65 billion euros to 1.7 billion euros," Klaus Fricke, chief executive officer (CEO) at Fiat Germany, told Automobilwoche.

Fricke recently announced to his 300 employees that the 2003 operating profit would be approximately 35 million euros -- in the previous year Fiat Germany made losses of 28 million euros.

Fiat Germany, the Italian carmakers' largest subsidiary, will sell in 2003 around 89,900 new passenger cars, a drop of 11.6 percent, according to provisional figures

Fricke said that the reasons are that Fiat reduced the number of non profitable deals with car rentals to around 2,500 units and that the number of day registrations was reduced by 20 percent to 35 percent of the total sales.

For 2004 Fricke, who has been CEO at Fiat Germany since September 2002, plans a sales increase of 30 percent to around 117,000 units.

The former Smart manager still believes in innovative marketing campaigns.

He plans another joint sales venture with the German mail order giants Tchibo in spring. This time he hopes to sell about 400 Fiat Barchettas via Tchibo.

Fricke hopes to fill the 44 gaps in Fiat's German dealer network by the middle of 2004. This could create 19,500 new sales a year.

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