Ford Motor Co.'s European division was on track to post a profit in 2006 for the third consecutive year, Ford Europe Chief Executive John Fleming said on Thursday.

The division made $196 million profit in the first half of this year, excluding special items.

Fleming, however, did not give a specific forecast for the full year.

Speaking at a roundtable with reporters at the Paris Auto Show, Fleming said he was optimistic about sales in September. The U.K. is the second-largest market for Ford outside North America.

Fleming said sales of its vehicles in Russia are expected to double this year to about 120,000 vehicles.

I don't see anything slowing down from a sales perspective, he said.

Looking forward, Fleming said flat auto industry sales and high commodity prices were the main challenges facing Ford's Europe unit in 2007.