MILAN (AP) -- The Italian government on Friday approved €1,500 ($1,900) payments to new car buyers who trade in older, polluting models, becoming the latest nation to try to boost the auto industry hard hit by the global economic slowdown.
Automaking is one of Italy's most important sectors, and the Fiat Group SpA, Italy's leading automaker, also is the country's biggest employer and industrial concern.
Italy has seen new car registrations plummet by a third in January, compared to a year earlier. Like other European automakers, Fiat has enacted a series of temporary layoffs to cope with the crisis.
Industry Minister Claudio Scajola detailed the measures after a Cabinet meeting in Rome that approved the package.
Fiat shares were up by 5.6 percent to €4.5 ($5.76) in trading on the Milan Stock Exchange.
Italy joins Britain, France and Germany in helping out car makers as sales tumble.
Germany is paying consumers euro2,500 ($3,200) to junk old cars for greener models. EU leaders will talk in March about joint efforts to speed up car sales across the 27-nation bloc.