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Fiat's record profit

Here is a press release I just received from Reuters Europe about Fiat's
profitability for 1997. I'm sure you will all find it interesting and (in my
opionion at least) it reinforces the answer why Fiat will not be back here -
they're making too darn much money everywhere else!

Best Wishes,

Ed at Caribou Imports, Inc.
now the largest Fiat parts distributor in the Western U.S.
visit us on the Web at:

 TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Italian automaker Fiat SpA said Friday it sees
pretax profit hitting a record high of 4.2 trillion lire ($2.28 billion) for
1997 after a government incentive program and buoyant foreign markets sent car
sales soaring.

 Fiat said it sees sales reaching 89.500 trillion lire ($49.7 billion) in
1997, up 15 percent from 1996, in line with previous company forecasts and
analysts' expectations.

 Fiat's 1996 pretax profit was 3.805 trillion lire ($2.1 billion).

 Car division Fiat Auto sold more than 2.7 million vehicles worldwide, an all-
time high, and posted a 17 percent increase in sales to 50.500 trillion lire
($28 billion), Fiat Chairman Cesare Romiti said in a letter to shareholders.

 Auto analysts said that 1997 will probably be a peak year for Fiat in terms
of profitability and sales.

 Though Romiti lauded the company's performance as it wrapped up a record
year, he warned that Italy's largest company will face ``difficult
challenges'' in 1998.

 It will face them without Romiti, 74, who is retiring in June after 24 years
with the company.

 Turbulence in Asian markets will have an impact on other emerging markets
where Fiat is strong, Romiti wrote to shareholders.

 ``There will be difficulties in Brazil, where growth will be modest,'' he

 ``Growth rates in Argentina and Poland will be satisfactory, although less
than what we saw in 1997. Competition will increase everywhere, especially
from Asian producers that are favored by the strong devaluation of their
currency,'' he said.

 Fiat had a 31 percent market share in 1997 in Brazil, where it produces and
sells its world car, the Palio. Its sales increased by 8.2 percent in Poland
in 1997 and by 13.6 percent in Brasil.

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