For what is probably only the second time since General Motors Corp. acquired Saab Automobile, the Swedish brand will be profitable this year, says Jay G. Spenchian, general manager of Saab Cars U.S.A. Inc.

Spenchian also says he has been assured by Fritz Henderson, president-GM Europe, that Saab is an important part of the company, and its product portfolio will be expanded, not terminated, as some reports suggest.

The Saab chief says worldwide sales will total 140,000 units this year, including 42,000 in the U.S. That represents a 12% increase, including fleet sales, over 2004.

Meanwhile, Spenchian says he did not learn about GM's divestiture of its Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. stock until shortly before the news was made public Oct. 5.

The move killed plans for the 7-passenger 9-6X cross/utility vehicle, based on the Subaru B9 Tribeca.

He expresses confidence the brand will market new models in the future, with previews set to begin at the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows in January.

A Saab concept, to be unveiled in Geneva in March, will signal the auto maker's future design direction, he says.