CBS MarketWatch reports that Fiat will announce an industrial alliance for its recovering carmaking division, Fiat Auto, by the end of 2005 citing remarks by CEO Sergio Marchionne earlier this week.

The ally will be an industrial rather than a financial partner, and it will not be an Asian company, Marchionne reportedly said. But he refused to offer more details, saying only he expected to ink the agreement by the end of this year.

The coming partnership will be the first of several “targeted alliances” aimed at sharing product development costs, Marchionne reportedly added. “Our rivals have become much better at doing this kind of joint venture work on product development,” he said.

The CEO was speaking at the launch of the new Fiat Punto, a crucial car for the company’s future and the only product to have been built on a shared platform with GM.

Next year’s Opel Corsa will use the same platform. However, only 31% of the parts are shared and none of them are visible to customers, according to Harald Wester, Fiat Auto’s chief engineer.

The Punto, which cost 800 million euros to develop, goes on sale in Italy this week and Marchionne repeated that it should help Fiat Auto’s results improve in 2006.