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No Fiat break-even till 2004

Fiat Auto will not hit operating break-even until 2004, its CEO Giancarlo Boschetti admitted at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday.

Asked if Europe's once largest carmaker would break even on a quarterly basis before then, he said: "No."

Boschetti last year launched a job-slashing restructuring plan to salvage Fiat Auto as it kept burning through cash while sales of its ageing model line-up slowed.

On Tuesday he said 2002 had been a "really terrible year and 2003 doesn't look that promising, although we have reason to be a little more hopeful."

Fiat Auto's rescue plan includes investing 2.5 billion euros a year until 2005 to launch 20 new models -- three of which were unveiled earlier on Tuesday.

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