Fiat CEO says drop in Sept car sales was expected

A sharp fall in new car registrations in Italy for September reported this week was expected, and no major recovery is likely before next year, Fiat SpA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Saturday.

New car registrations in Italy fell 18.9 percent in September to 154,429 vehicles. Sales by Fiat, which accounts for almost 30 percent of the market, fell 26.3 percent to 44,161 vehicles, according to Transport Ministry data.

“The figures were completely in line with expectations,” Marchionne told reporters at the sidelines of a conference in Florence. “The market is looking for stability, and until the process of getting supply and demand into line is completed, we will continue to suffer.”

He said lower range models were feeling the most impact and added: “We’ll probably have to wait until 2011 to see a pick-up in demand.”