Fiat could discuss spinning off its auto activities when it presents a five-year strategic plan next month, CEO Sergio Marchionne has said. Such a move could unlock value for the company and cheer the market.

Reuters noted there had been regular speculation on the possibility of Fiat listing its auto activities separately.

"Let's talk about it on 21 April," Marchionne told reporters at the Geneva show when asked about an auto spin-off.

The automaker is scheduled to hold an investor day on 21 April in Turin. A company spokesman said this would include a presentation of Fiat's five-year strategic plan.

Marchionne said there were no plans for closer ties with PSA with which Fiat has vanmaking ventures in Europe. "Not for the moment. Relations are great for the commercial vehicle side but for cars there is nothing concrete."

Marchionne said Chrysler's flat year-on-year February sales reflected "real numbers", with figures before the US company's bankruptcy last year reflecting "ridiculous" discounts. General Motors and Ford posted strong rises.

In Italy, the difficulties in the auto sector will last for some time, making 2010 a "tough year" after the expiry of scrapping incentives at the end of 2009, he told Reuters.