STOCKHOLM -- The chief executive of Volvo Cars, which is owned by Chinese automaker Geely, told a newspaper on Tuesday that it will be "very difficult" for the company to avoid incurring a loss this year and next year.

The company's target of breaking even on an operational level this year will be "very, very difficult to reach," Haakan Samuelsson told the Financial Times, adding that for next year, "the target is still to break even, but that will also be very tough."

Speaking to the press for the first time since taking the helm of the company in October, Samuelsson also told Swedish business daily Dagens Industri that Volvo expects to sell "in the order of" 400,000 to 410,000 cars next year.

Volvo sold 383,000 cars in the first 11 months of this year, which was 6% fewer than in same period last year.

Chinese parent company Geely exports vehicles to more than 40 developing countries in eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.

It also operates assembly plants in several countries, including Russia and Indonesia.

It bought Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. (IW 500/6) in 2010, but the iconic Swedish brand has since seen its market share decline and profits dwindle.

In the first 11 months of the year, Volvo's sales in China fell at a faster pace than in its other markets, even though the company had said it would make the country a priority.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012