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Dec 15, 2009, 04.29 PM IST | Source: Reuters

Fiat chairman: We are not seeking Asian partner

Fiat has no need to find an Asian partner to match recent tie-ups by European competitors with Japanese car makers, its chairman Luca di Montezemolo told Reuters on Monday in an interview.

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Fiat has no need to find an Asian partner to match recent tie-ups by European competitors with Japanese car makers, its chairman Luca di Montezemolo told Reuters on Monday in an interview.

"The others are doing what we have (already) done," Montezemolo said, adding that after Fiat's deal to take a 20 percent stake in Chrysler "this is a time when we have to be careful not to get indigestion" by trying to swallow too much.

Asian car makers have secured several deals recently with other producers.

Last week, Volkswagen agreed to buy a 19.9 percent stake in Japan's Suzuki Motor for USD2.5 billion, followed by Monday's announcement that Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC) has bought some Saab assets.

Fiat is building a plant in China with Guangzhou Automobile, China's sixth-largest auto producer and has a joint venture with India's Tata Motors.

Montezemolo said Fiat's deal with Chrysler "is also aimed at Eastern markets," adding "we will go into China with the Jeep."

Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne presented plans for a turnaround of Chrysler in November, and Jeep will be one of its international brands.

Montezemolo said Fiat would present its own strategy in the spring of 2010 -- a slightly tighter timescale than Marchionne's reference to sometime in the first quarter.

He said the company's sporty Alfa Romeo marque was not for sale under any circumstances, after a recent analyst report suggested it could be bought by Volkswagen.

Bernstein analysts added in their note on Dec. 10 that "Alfa may not be expensive and its cars would fit on VW's platforms."

"We will present the new Alfa ... that substitutes the 147, and we think there are also very important opportunities for Alfa Romeo in the United States," Montezemolo added.

He said in Italy, Fiat would be able to significantly increase output as the government has requested during negotiations over the car maker's future strategy and the government's commitment to incentives for trading in old vehicles.

"We have done everything that we said we would do. So give us a bit of time and we will do this," Montezemolo said.

"There are big synergies with Chrysler that will allow us to cover market segments we are not present in."

Fiat is also expected to shift production of around 270,000 Panda cars from its overworked factory in Poland, either to the southern Italian Pomigliano plant or to Mirafiori, near its home base of Turin in the north-east.

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