Autoliv Inc. (ALV), the world's largest maker of seat belts and airbags, Tuesday lowered its outlook for the first quarter on the back of the collapse in production of new cars in North America and Europe.

It also disclosed that General Motors Corp. (GM) and Chrysler LLC in North America together owed the company $50 million as of Jan. 31.

The Swedish-American company said it forecasts operating margin to be between minus 5% and minus 10% in the first quarter, down from its previous forecast of minus 5% to minus 7%.

Autoliv is also hurting from the strong dollar, since it reports in that currency. It said sales in the first quarter are expected to be 10% lower at actual exchange rates due to the strength of the dollar, worse than the 5% impact it previously had estimated.

The revised forecasts are due to the "further decline in global light-vehicle production expected for the current quarter and given the current uncertainty surrounding customer and supplier viability," Autoliv said.

Autoliv said in January it was aiming later in the year to report a positive operating income, excluding restructuring costs, and potentially even for the full-year 2009.

The company, which swung to a net loss in the fourth quarter as automakers slashed production amid a sharp decline in demand for new vehicles, maintained its forecast for 2009.

It said it has $284 million in debt that's maturing during the remainder of 2009, but added that as of Jan. 31 it had $952 million in cash and unused long-term credit facilities.

Autoliv has cut at least 5,900 jobs, or 14% of its workforce, in a cost-cutting program initiated in July. At the end of 2008 it employed 34,000 workers.

Danske Bank analyst Carl Holmquist said the new outlook wasn't surprising. "It's in line with what we had expected. It looks really tough for them, but they're doing what they can," he said.

Danske Bank rates the shares buy. At 1457 GMT, the shares traded up 1.50 Swedish kronor, or 1.1%, at SEK140.25, in line with the broader Stockholm market.

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   -By Ola Kinnander, Dow Jones Newswires; +46-8-5451-3097;