FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG will have met its $4 billion pretax profit goal when it reports figures for 2002 this week, an industry source says.
Asked whether Volkswagen's pretax profit result for 2002 would have a four at the beginning, the source said: "You can be 99.9 percent sure."
The figures have not been approved by the board.
The group, which is suffering from an aging product range as it battles weak demand and unfavorable exchange rates, said in October that it aimed to post a pretax figure of about $4 billion for the full year. A Reuters poll of 26 analysts forecast on average a result of $4 billion.
A company source said earlier that VW would publish its 2002 results Wednesday morning.
The group is depending on its recently launched Touran minivan to boost its sales this year at a time when its top-selling Golf and Passat models are beginning to look long in the tooth alongside fresher-faced rivals.
The company, whose shares have outperformed the European sector by more than 4 percent since the start of the year, faces tough competition from peers such as Renault, which also is trying to run down older models ahead of debuts.
Renault said last week that tough cost cutting and buoyant sales outside Europe had powered its core profits higher last year, although it disappointed investors with a cautious outlook.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA, another of VW's main rivals, said last week its 2002 operating profit also jumped last year.
Both companies warned that the Western European auto market could fall as much as 2 percent this year, or further in a worst-case scenario.