General Motors' European arm Opel sees a chance it may return to profitability next year, excluding restructuring charges, and now expects a smaller 2010 loss, the unit's chief executive said.

We will be ahead of budget in 2010 since some costs will be shifted to 2011, Nick Reilly said at the Paris carshow on Thursday.

Reilly also said he hopes the carmaker's net profit may reach 4-5 percent of sales in 2012, but said Opel was more likely to achieve that target in 2013.

GM last year dropped plans to spin off Opel, backtracking on months of negotiations to sell it, and is now embarking on a drastic restructuring plan to get the unit back on track.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner: Writing by Maria Sheahan)