Marchionne: Fiat is healthy, will continue to make cars in Italy image

Fiat Auto SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company is healthy and confirmed the targets for 2012. On Saturday, Marchionne and Chairman John Elkann met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

During the meeting, the two executives outlined the group’s market forecasts and future plans. They also agreed to set up a working group in order to find out how to improve Fiat’s competitiveness.

Marchionne and Elkann reconfirmed Fiat’s pledge to continue making cars in Italy, while Monti said the government will try to improve the country’s export competitiveness, according to a joint statement.

The Italian leader said that Fiat did not ask the government for financial aid or extra-cash for a state-funded layoff program during the meeting. “Financial aid was not asked for, and had it been requested it would not have been given,” Monti was quoted as saying by Reuters at a conference in Rome.

Monti added that the government will seek “to create the conditions and the context that allow it to safeguard the industrial presence of Fiat in Italy,” instead of handing out financial aids.

The meeting between Monti and the Fiat executives took place amid fears that the carmaker is planning to transfer manufacturing outside of Italy. Fiat shares opened down 0.76 percent at the Milan Stock Exchange after the company told the Italian government it will not close Italian factories.