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MILAN (AP) — The Italian carmaker Fiat SpA says it will suspend production at its Naples plant for 12 days next month as car sales in Italy drop to the lowest levels in 30 years.

Fiat said Wednesday that it will close the Pomigliano plant, which makes the subcompact Panda model, from Aug. 20-31 to avoid "the useless and costly accumulation of vehicles." The extraordinary shutdown is in addition to a month-long holiday closure that begins July 23.

The carmaker said the Italian market contracted nearly 20 percent in the first half of 2012, compared with a 6 percent decline overall in Europe.

Fiat — which controls U.S. carmaker Chrysler — says the crisis was hitting sales of subcompact cars especially hard.

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