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PHOTO CAPTION: Fiat Multipla Hybrid system that the company abandoned in the 1990s.

Fiat Criticized for Missing Electric Car Opportunity

Italy's environment minister Corrado Clini says Fiat management abandoned promising hybrid technology and ignored chance to supply electric components.

Published: 31-Jan-2012

MILAN (Dow Jones)--Italy's environment minister Tuesday criticized Fiat SpA (F.MI) for having missed a "great opportunity" offered by the growing use of electric cars in the world.

"The moment in which the global car market started to point towards hybrid technology, the Italian industry missed a great opportunity and this is a shame," Corrado Clini, a member of the country's technocratic government, told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

"A while ago, in the 1990s, [Fiat] put into production a hybrid Multipla with an electric control system that was more sophisticated than the Toyota Prius," he said. "It was a refined product and very efficient but Fiat at a certain point decided it was not interesting and stopped making it."

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