FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Volkswagen's 2008 earnings and sales will be higher year-on-year, but the first quarter of 2009 could see Europe's biggest carmaker sink into the red, its finance chief told a newspaper Friday.
Hans Dieter Poetsch told the German daily Boersen-Zeitung that the global car market could shrink 15 percent this year and VW could not rule out a loss in the first quarter under such circumstances.
VW made a 2007 operating profit of 6.1 billion euros ($7.9 billion) on revenue of 108 billion euros.
Poetsch's remarks echoed a warning by VW CEO Martin Winterkorn recently of "critical times ahead."
Carmakers are seeing new-car sales tumble as recession and a lack of credit keeps buyers from showrooms.