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Fiat's share of domestic new car market rises

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MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Fiat SPA's share of the domestic new car market rose to 31 per cent in April, Italy's Transport Ministry said Tuesday, as the company's new flagship model, the Grande Punto, extended its successful launch.

New car registrations in the Italian market in April overall fell 6.3 per cent from the same month a year before, the ministry said.

Fiat had a 27.2 per cent share of the Italian car market in April 2005.

In March, Fiat's share of the domestic new car market was 30.6 per cent, up from 28.1 per cent the same month a year earlier.

The good news for Fiat came ahead of first quarter results, which will be released Wednesday in Turin, where the auto company has its headquarters. In the final quarter of last year, Fiat Auto scored its first three-month operating profit in 17 quarters.

Fiat has been trying for a turnaround.

``This is the best performance in 2006, and confirms a growth trend that began a few months ago,'' Fiat said in a statement about the April car market figure.

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Fiat's share of domestic new car market rises
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