Fiat achieved 2006 profit targets on rising car sales and that continued into the new year.

Speaking to Reuters at an Iveco truck division event in Monaco, chief executive Sergio Marchionne also confirmed the group will pay out its first dividend in five years on the 2006 results.

No figures could be prised from the CEO but he reportedly said Fiat was on target.

Key targets for 2006 included a trading profit of around EUR1.85bn euros and a margin of 4%.

Marchionne also told the news agency Fiat was taking legal proceedings against Chinese rival Great Wall, which he accused of copying the Panda city car, whose strong sales have helped the group’s auto division recover from years of losses.