TURIN, Italy (AP) _ Fiat SpA, Italy's largest automaker and leading private-sector industrial group, said Tuesday that talks with Ford Motor Co. over a joint auto production venture have broken off.

The two companies have been negotiating for about a year over the possibility of combining all or part of the operations of Fiat's auto unit, Fiat Auto SpA, and Ford's European unit, Ford of Europe Inc.

A full merger of the two units would have created a leader in Europe's fragmented volume car market. Fiat and Ford Europe each have 12-13 percent of the European market.

In an official statement, Fiat said the managements of the two parent companies had ''concluded that a joint venture between Fiat Auto and Ford of Europe isn't practicable.''

The statement said contact between the two auto producing groups will continue in order to explore the possibility of other cooperative programs.

Fiat has long pushed for further integration between Europe's major volume car producers, saying further consolidation of the European auto industry is necessary if it is to resist the continued expansion of Japanese and other Far Eastern automakers into the European market.