DETROIT -- Volkswagen AG'S North American operations are likely to break even in 2006 and may even post an operating profit, the automaker's chief financial officer said on Wednesday.
"For 2006 ... we believe we have a good chance to break even and even more," Hans Dieter Poetsch told a meeting of financial analysts in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.
Poetsch also reiterated VW's disappointing profit outlook for North America in 2005.
"For 2005 it is very unlikely that we are going to break even," he said.
Europe's largest automaker expects car sales at its core VW brand to remain flat in the United States this year after they dropped more than 15 percent in 2004.
In 2006, Poetsch said sales and profit at VW's North American unit would be buoyed by a full year of availability of its Mexican-built Jetta sedans and by a redesigned version of the Passat car, which makes its U.S. debut later this year.