GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- World number-two truck maker Volvo still sees sales of heavy trucks rising this year in its two biggest markets, Europe and North America, a top Volvo executive said on Tuesday.
Volvo has been benefiting from revived demand for heavy trucks on both sides of the Atlantic despite an otherwise gloomy auto market.
"In Europe we still expect a 5 percent rise," said Volvo Trucks Chief Executive Staffan Jufors.
"The forecast for North America is an increase of 15 to 20 percent," he added. He was giving his first press briefing since taking on his new job late last year.
Despite the rises, Volvo Chief Executive Leif Johansson said last month that the group -- which includes the Renault and Mack brands as well as vehicles sold under its own name -- had noted a lower order intake in Europe in November, though deliveries continued at a high pace in all markets.
Despite posting a sharp rise in underlying 9-month pretax profit, the company has also said it would have to raise prices this year as a result of the falling value of the dollar against the euro and rising raw material costs, particularly steel.
Jufors said raw material prices were stabilizing.
"We see signs that the upward pressure on raw material costs has tapered off lately," he said.