Renault’s Dacia unit on Thursday said it hoped to break even at the net level this year, for which it forecast at least 40% unit sales growth.

“We hope to make no more losses this year, but we will improve with the introduction of the Logan and can be sure of break-even next year,” Dacia executive director of manufacturing Simon Valin told Reuters.

The news agency noted that Dacia is building the X90 family of low-cost, €5,000 cars, including the Logan sedan, for emerging markets at its plant in Romania.

Reuters said Renault bought 51% of Dacia in 1999 and gradually increased this to almost all of its capital, and has been revamping its Soviet-era factories with the aim of turning it into the firm’s number-two brand.

The X90, which it hopes to export to other countries in eastern and central Europe and will eventually build in Russia, Morocco, Iran and Colombia, is the linchpin of its plans to turn around Dacia and book a profit there by 2005, the report added.

Valin told Reuters Dacia already was profitable at the operating level before amortisation, and that the unit has targeted an operating margin of at least 4.5% in 2005. Unit sales also had increased, he reportedly added.

“Sales so far this year are up around 40% and should be at least this for the year,” Valin told Reuters.