WOLFSBURG, Germany: Europe's biggest automaker, Volkswagen, is standing by its sales and profits forecasts for 2008, although ceo Martin Winterkorn foresees problems from rising raw material costs in future years.

"We can't compensate everything," he says and warns of higher prices on dealer forecourts.

However, Winterkorn is confident the company is well placed to withstand the consumer backlash over gasoline prices hikes.

He says VW can produce smaller, more fuel-efficient new marques, which would be important in the US.

American automakers are struggling as drivers abandon gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks in favour of more economically friendly vehicles.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff