Italian automaker Fiat SpA said on Thursday its third quarter was proceeding well and confirmed it could raise its 2010 outlook, sending its shares higher.
Fiat, Europe's fifth-biggest car maker, is looking at 2010 as a transition year to relaunch growth, Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on the sidelines of a conference.
Marchionne confirmed Fiat, which has a 20 percent stake in U.S. carmaker Chrysler, would probably raise its full-year guidance in a couple of months.
Asked how Fiat was performing in the third quarter, he said: Quite well. We have seen an extremely weak European car market, as of course was to be expected.
You needed a period to reestablish a base for growth, he said.
Among markets outside Europe, overall car sales in Brazil were up almost 11 percent in the first half of August compared with 2009. Fiat is Brazil's biggest automaker.
By 1432 GMT, Fiat shares were up 2.59 percent at 9.31 euros, while the STOXX Europe 600 Auto index .SXAP was up 1.19 percent.
An analyst said Marchionne's upbeat comment on the third quarter is probably more interesting to us in the market rather than repeating the thing about guidance.
Investors are looking for 2010 results ahead of Fiat's guidance, said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The market consensus is for revenues of about 53 billion euros ($67.31 billion), ahead of Fiat's outlook for 50 billion euros, he said.
Marchionne, the Italian-Canadian manager who has made Fiat one of Europe's top industrial turnaround stories, also confirmed the Alfa Romeo brand was not for sale.
Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) is eyeing the potential acquisition of Alfa Romeo should Fiat consider putting it up for sale, German auto industry newspaper Automobilwoche reported on Monday.
Marchionne said that Chrysler's relations with its dealers has never been so good and that the U.S. automaker needed operating income of $800 million to turn a net profit.
However, on Monday he said it would be difficult for Chrysler to turn a net profit for 2010.
(Reporting by Paolo Biondi; Writing by Stephen Jewkes and Ian Simpson; Editing by Sharon Lindores)