Ford India expects to be profitable from 2004 on rising domestic sales, a senior Ford official told Dow Jones on Tuesday.

"Starting from next year you would start seeing us in the black," Ford India's managing director David Friedman reportedly said at the launch of the Endeavour sports utility vehicle in New Delhi.

During April to September, the first half of the country's current financial year, Ford sold 8,592 vehicles in India, compared with 7,787 units in the same period last year, Dow Jones said.

Established in 1995, Ford India has invested about 17 billion rupees in the country to date and also uses its factory in southern India to export mid-sized cars to Mexico, South Africa, and a few countries in South America, Dow Jones said, adding that Ford India also exports about 170 vehicle components to Ford's China unit.

Friedman told the news agency that last year Ford India exported about 28,000 units of the Ikon [a small sedan based on the previous generation European Fiesta].

"We are tracking about the same level of exports for this year. As well, we expect to generate a profit of 500 million rupees this calendar year from the sale of auto components to Ford China," he said, according to Dow Jones.

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