There would be a popular revolt if Fiat Auto was given government help, a right-wing Italian cabinet minister has said in a warning to the government ahead of talks with the auto sector this week.

"There would be a popular revolt if once again we were to give aid to Fiat," Roberto Calderoli said, according to Reuters.

"We have already paid up to intervene in Fiat so many times and you can't keep sharing the debt and keeping the profit," he told state television RAI.

Last week Fiat said 2009 would be its "toughest year ever" and revealed debt three times its forecasts. Faced with a dramatic drop in sales, Fiat has temporarily shut down plants across Italy and suspended thousand of workers, the news agency noted. It also plans a partnership with Chrysler.

Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has called talks with auto industry associations on Wednesday.

The centre-right premier has talked about "assistance that would not be costly for the state" and the need to make sure Italy's producers do not fall behind foreign competitors, the report added.