ROME (AP) -- Fiat's CEO, who recently complained that the automaker would be better off without Italy's balking unions, says he was not threatening to leave Italy.
CEO Sergio Marchionne made that assurance on Thursday after meeting with Italy's industry minister in Rome. Marchionne also shrugged off a 40 percent drop last month in registration of Fiat vehicles, contending it was in line with predictions.
Italy's metalworkers union rejected Fiat's plan to move production of its new Panda compact from Poland to near Naples, complaining the company demanded too many concessions from workers.
Marchionne promised that hiring at the Naples-area plant would likely start next year and gradually increase.
He indicated Fiat would not negotiate with unions over production at the plant.