Sollers, the Russia-based automaking partner of Fiat S.p.A., said that in the first half of 2010, it was able to reduce its net loss to 1.26 billion rubles ($42.07 million). In the first half of 2009, Sollers posted a net loss of 3.6 billion rubles.
According to CEO Nikolai Sobolev, Sollers expected 2010 sales to surpass 50 billion rubles against 34.7 billion in 2009, and targeted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of over $100 million.
The Russian car industry is on track to making a full recovery after annual sales were cut in half amid the worldwide economic downturn in 2009. New-car sales had increased by 14% to 1,135,074 after eight months, partly due to a scrapping scheme offered by the government.
The 50-50 joint venture of Fiat and Sollers is focused on the production and distribution of Fiat and Chrysler Group cars and SUVs in Russia.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that he is interested in expanding the joint venture so that it can achieve an annual production capacity of 280,000 units of models including the Jeep Patriot and Liberty/Cherokee replacements. [via autonews - sub. required]