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Mr. Embargo
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Ford’s Swedish car unit Volvo PV is heading for a full-year 2003 profit above budget of around five billion crowns ($US650 million), a Swedish newspaper reported on Sunday, according to Reuters.

"We will deliver earnings in line with budget and a bit more," the business daily Dagens Industri quoted Volvo PV's president Hans-Olov Olsson as saying in the internet edition of the newspaper due to come out in print on Monday, Reuters reported.

Olsson reportedly declined to give any earnings figures but said Volvo PV's productivity had improved by 5% this year while Dagens Industri said it had obtained information suggesting that the 2003 profit would be close to five billion crowns.

That would make Volvo the best performer in Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG) luxury car division, which includes brands such as Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover, Reuters noted, adding that in 2002, PAG made a $897 million loss though Ford has vowed to return the unit to profit this year.

According to Reuters, Dagens Industri said Volvo PV would sell about 420,000 cars this year, while Olsson reportedly said 2003 sales of Volvo cars in the United States would hit a record for the brand of close to 140,000 vehicles.

Sales of Volvo cars have risen every month this year and December would be no exception, the newspaper added, according to Reuters, which noted that the report also said production of the XC90 model would increase by 10,000 vehicles next year to 90,000.
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