A top executive has said he expects Ford's European unit to stay in profit in the second half of 2008 despite economic storm clouds ahead.

The automaker's European president and chief executive John Fleming warned, however, that the business climate for global automakers was becoming increasingly difficult amid fears of an economic downturn, Dow Jones reported on Wednesday.

"Business in 2008 will continue to be negatively affected by unfavourable currency exchange rates" and a difficult overall economic development, Fleming told the news agency during a presentation in France ahead of the Paris motor show.

He said the business climate was expected to become "increasingly difficult" in the months ahead, the report added.