Fiat's top executives have said they had made "difficult choices" to continue producing in Italy despite a fall in sales but would not be shutting any plants as feared earlier.

"Despite market troubles, we have made difficult choices to continue producing in Italy," Fiat chairman John Elkann said at the opening of a new Maserati plant, Agence France Press reported.

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne said: "I can confirm that we will not shut any plants in Italy."

The company had warned last year that it could be forced to shut one of its five factories in Italy.

But Marchionne cautioned about the outlook for sales in Europe.

"The European car market may not have hit bottom," he said at the same event near Turin.

"The company is doing well," Marchionne said.

Chrysler 2012 net income $1.7bn