GENEVA -- Saab aims to break even next year with the help of a job-cutting restructuring plan announced in November last year, the head of the Swedish automaker said on Tuesday.
Saab chief Peter Augustsson said that the restructuring, which includes cutting 1,400 jobs, mostly in Sweden, will trim Saab's breakeven point to an annual vehicle sales level of 130,000 to 140,000 cars, which Saab should be able to hit next year.
Saab sold about 120,000 vehicles last year, and its new 9-3 car, including a convertible unveiled at the Geneva auto show on Tuesday, will help boost sales over the next few years, Augustsson said.
"We should in a couple of years be in a profit," Augustsson told reporters at the Geneva auto show.
With the new 9-3 sedan on the market, Saab recorded its strongest February ever in the U.S. market. Augustsson said he expected worldwide sales to climb to 135,000 vehicles this year.
Next year, the full impact of Saab's cost cuts will be realized. "From a cost side, we will be there next year," he said.
In addition to cutting 1,400 jobs, Saab is also eliminating costs by moving production of the 9-3 and the larger 9-5 car to the same assembly line and integrating engineering operations with GM Europe.
The losses expected for Saab this year are one reason why GM is expecting its European operations to break even or post another loss this year, GM officials said.
GM's Opel brand, also in the midst of a turnaround, still expects to break even toward the end of this year, said Carl-Peter Forster, the head of the Germany-based car division.
In February, Opel's market share in Germany, it's biggest market, rose more than 1 percent from last year as sales climbed by around 10 percent, Forster said.
"It really depends on the German economy and the war scenario," Forster said at the auto show. "Germany is the big question mark. We would predict a flat market in Europe. Some others are more bearish."
Still, Forster said that incentive costs are rising as automakers battle for market share amid signs of a weakening market.
"Always, at times of stress, your costs of sales go up," Forster said.