Fiat will lay off 1,500 workers in Poland
WARSAW (Reuters) -- Fiat plans to lay off about 1,500 workers at its factory in Tychy, Poland
Output at the plant, which employs 5,600 people, will not reach 350,000 cars this year and will drop to below 300,000 in 2013, compared to over 600,000 in 2009, Fiat said.
The automaker said the layoffs are a response to falling car sales in Europe.
The Tychy plant in southern Poland has lost production of the Panda, Europe's top-selling minicar. Fiat is building the latest generation Panda at its plant in Pomigliano, near Naples, Italy.
Production of the old-generation Panda will stop at the end of this month. Tychy will continue to build the Fiat 500, Ford Ka and Lancia Ypsilon.
The number of Fiat workers who will lose their jobs will be known after negotiations with trade unions finish in the first half of January, a spokesman for Fiat Auto Poland said on Friday.
Fiat Auto Poland is the country's largest car manufacturer. The announcement comes at a time when Poland's economy, which went through the global economic crisis in the past four years relatively unscathed, has started to slow sharply.
Economic growth slowed to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in the third quarter, while the country's unemployment rate is estimated to have risen to 12.9 percent at the end of November from 12.5 percent in the prior month.
Luca Ciferri contributed to this report