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Italy's car sales “strongly negative”

Italy's new car sales were likely to have been “strongly negative” in August, according to Promotor, an influential research group that follows the industry's trends in the country.

Promotor gave the forecast on Monday in a statement put out every month ahead of the publication of official sales figures by the transport ministry, which generally reflect Promotor's forecast.

Shares in Fiat, whose home market is Italy, were nevertheless trading 2.87% higher at €10.88.

One analyst said investor interest was returning to the manufacturing sector, whose share prices have taken a beating this year. Fiat shares, for example, have lost more than 40%.

A trader also cited the recently released August figures out of France, which showed Fiat having enjoyed a 21.3% rise in car sales for the month despite a downturn in the market.

European car makers have seen a steep drop in sales as drivers postpone buying cars due to concerns about the economy, high fuel prices and a credit squeeze. (Reuters)