MILAN (AP) — The Fitch ratings agency has downgraded the credit rating of Italian automaker Fiat SpA because of risks linked to its combination with U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC.
Fitch said Tuesday that Fiat's own operations may be disrupted by financial difficulties at Chrysler at a time when Fiat is under pressure at its standalone business.
Fitch says the downgrade to BB from BB+ reflects Fiat's "intrinsic weakness" in that it relies heavily on the Italian and Brazilian markets and only has a small presence in the growing markets in China, India and Russia.
In September, Moody's downgraded Fiat's ratings as well for similar reasons.
Fiat holds a 53.5 percent share in Chrysler, and expects to raise its stake to 58.3 percent by the end of the year.