Italian car giant Fiat said its net profit in the first quarter soared ten-fold to €379m from €37m on a 12-month comparison.

Fiat also confirmed its targets for 2012 despite difficulties in Europe. 

In Europe "trading conditions continued to remain weak for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, particularly in Italy'', it said.

It added that production and deliveries were badly affected by protracted car hauler strikes.

Revenues and profitability reflect generally positive trading conditions across regions with the exception of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), where conditions were in further decline," Fiat said in a statement.

The car giant forecast a net profit of between €1.2 billion and €1.5 billion for the whole of 2012 and a turnover of more than €77 billion.

Earlier this month Fiat's chief executive Sergio Marchionne said the company would start production in China in the coming months and in Russia in 2013 - and could increase its stake in US partner Chrysler to 61.8% this year.

The partnership with Chrysler had allowed the Italian giant to face volatility in the market more serenely and would enable the two companies together to search for new markets outside crisis-hit Europe, he said.