Fiat deputy chairman John Elkann has dismissed talk of the possible spin-off of Fiat's car-making division, saying now is not the time.

"In the normal market conditions, it is an idea which may be considered. But now there can be no talk about it," he told the Il Sole 24 Ore financial daily, according to Reuters.

"We are going through a major crisis which will radically change the automobile world, and Fiat could play a role in its consolidation," he said.

Asked if Fiat would be satisfied with a minority role in an eventual alliance, he said: "What is important is that it should be a good marriage."

Elkann was also quoted as saying: "Fiat will continue to make money even if revenues fall sharply, even by 20% compared to 2008 which itself is not an excellent year."

Last October, Fiat said sales volumes could fall between 10 and 20% and trading profit could plunge 65% next year as the global financial crisis takes its toll on sales, Reuters noted.

Elkann also said the group's trading profit would be over EUR3bn this year, also in line with October's forecast.