According to Automotive News Europe, Ford of Europe is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal global picture for struggling Ford Motor Company.

Despite higher raw materials costs and increasing competition from Asian brands, Ford of Europe looks set to post a modest profit in 2005. This would be its second straight annual year of profit.

In January, Ford of Europe advised that it would post a $100m (EUR85m) to $200 million profit this year. That guidance remains unchanged, said company spokesman Ian Slater.

For the year so far, Ford of Europe is $70 million in the black, despite a $55 million third-quarter loss. Ford is still trying to cut costs in Europe and will have cut 2,600 hourly and salaried jobs by year-end.

Ford's luxury Premier Automotive Group is still struggling. The unit has lost $146 million this year. Ford of Europe and PAG financial results are reported separately. PAG's losses are mainly due to struggling Jaguar.

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