ROME (Reuters) -- Fiat Chief Executive Giuseppe Morchio said Thursday that the Italian group would not consider linking with any partner other than U.S. giant General Motors, which co-owns its car unit.
GM bought 20 percent of Fiat Auto in 2000 and set up vital joint ventures with the Turin, Italy, group that should save the companies $1.2 billion each by next year.
But tensions have since strained. Last year GM refused to pay its share of a five billion euro recapitalization of the sputtering Fiat Auto unit, diluting its stake to 10 percent. It also said an option for Fiat to force the rest of Fiat Auto onto GM was now void.
The start of the "put" option has been delayed by a year to January 2005 to give the companies time to sort out the spat and Fiat's Chairman Umberto Agnelli has said he could seek compensation if GM annuls the "put".
Asked if Fiat would now look to set up an alliance with any other carmaker, Morchio bluntly replied: "No."
"Our partnership with GM is an industrial partnership. That is how both GM and Fiat are defining it, and the results are giving us both great satisfaction," he told reporters on the sidelines of an employers body meeting in Rome.
Fiat and GM have joint ventures to develop platforms and buy parts, saving vital money for GM's loss-making European arm.
"The other issues are under discussion, a work in progress. We do not underestimate the difficulties but we are determined to move forward," Morchio added.