Berlusconi Says No Auto Aid For Now

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and German Chancellor Angela are taking a wait-and-see posture on aid to the auto industries that power both economies, while closely watching moves in the United States, the leaders said following a summit in the northern port of Trieste on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. Automakers have been calling for aid to help them weather the slide in demand with the global financial crisis--while the United States considers a bailout for Detroit's General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. But Berlusconi said he did not think aid to the Italian auto industry was necessary at the moment. Fiat Group Spa, Italy's largest industrial concern, has announced production slowdowns as demand for autos has dropped under the impact of the global financial slowdown. Merkel also is putting off a decision on aid, after having met with Adam Opel GmbH officials on Monday night. The German leader said at a news conference that the Opel situation was unique, because it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the troubled U.S. automaker General Motors Corp., which is seeking U.S. government help to avoid bankruptcy. "And GM's future cannot be foreseen," Merkel said. Read more.