Visteon Corp. on Wednesday said it swung to a loss in the first quarter as increased demand in Europe and Asia for its parts was offset by lower production volumes from former parent Ford.

Visteon reported a Q1 loss of US$153m, or US$1.19 a share, reversing a year-ago profit of US$3m, or 2 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast a loss of 51 cents a share.

Total sales slipped to US$2.93bn from US$2.96bn a year earlier.

Visteon said that Ford sales slipped 12% to US$1.18bn as the former parent cut production in North America.

Visteon said it has completed its salaried reduction program that was first disclosed in October, eliminating roughly 900 positions.

The company said it now projects a 2007 loss, excluding restructuring costs and other items, in a range of US$35m to US$135m on anticipated product sales of about US$10.7bn.
Visteon said it is looking for production volumes for the second quarter to come in “significantly lower” than a year ago for a number of its key customers.

Citigroup analyst Jon Rogers said in a note to clients: “We remain optimistic that restructuring should build the foundation for a more competitive Visteon.”

“However, lower Ford production, more aggressive OEM sourcing strategies, and cash burn poses risk.”