Fiat Lowers Earnings Targets Due to European Economy

Fiat announced sharp cuts in performance targets for the next two years. The Italian based automaker said that because of languishing sales throughout the European region, due to austerity measures, up to 33% of the projections for profit by the company could be cut for 2014.

The downturn taking place across the continent forced Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne to focus more on bolstering operations throughout Europe instead of purchasing more stock in Chrysler, the U.S. automaker. Fiat currently owns a stake of 58.5% in Chrysler.

Marchionne leads both automakers and repeated that the plans to merge the two into one prior to the end of 2015 are on schedule, but he said that Europe had more pressing business at the current time.

The CEO said his primary objective was to fix their European sales. The Italian automaker said they now expect profit for 2014 to be between $6.1 billion and $6.7 billion, that is a lower figure than the original forecast of over $9.75 billion.

Fiat, based in the city of Turin, Italy, said it expected to sell 4.6 million to 4.8 million autos in 2014. That figure is down from the estimated 6 million that was part of the five year plan outlined during 2010. That plan was completed when most economists and analysts thought that Europe was on the verge of recovering from the sovereign debt crisis.

Fiat reported its earnings on Tuesday and they were just slightly above what was expected for the third quarter. Fiat also announced it was not shutting any of its factories in Europe, as some of its competitors have done.