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Volkswagen hopes to break even by 2009 at the earliest in N.A.

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FRANKFURT (AP) _ German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen AG hopes to achieve management's break-even target for the North American market by 2009 at the earliest, the company's chief labour representative Bernd Osterloh told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview Friday.

``I hope this is achieved,'' Osterloh said, adding it would be a hard target to reach.

Osterloh said meeting this goal would require an increase in productivity and reduced purchasing costs. This would mean a stronger focus on purchasing parts locally, he added.

He also said that the North American market would be a focal point for the company in the coming years. With this in mind, Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen is sending its ``best man for the North American market,'' Stefan Jacoby, to assume the position of Chief Executive of Volkswagen of America beginning on Sept. 1.

Osterloh said he didn't know if production would resume in the United States with the construction of a new factory. He said before this can be decided, capacity utilization in Mexico would be studied.

According to Osterloh, it is more important that the company develops car models for the U.S. market in order to generate sales volume. He said models the size of a Passat or Jetta would be suitable and are being considered.

He said it is possible that models especially designed for the U.S. market could be launched before 2010.

Volkswagen of America is based in Auburn Hills, Mich.

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Volkswagen hopes to break even by 2009 at the earliest in N.A.
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