Autoliv Inc. (ALV), the world's largest seat-belt and airbag maker, is likely to emerge through the global crisis that is bruising the auto industry in good shape and with higher market share, the company's chief executive told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview Tuesday.

"We think we will emerge stronger through the crisis," Jan Carlson said.

He said the Swedish-American company has "perhaps the industry's strongest balance sheet right now," partly due to last month's stock offering that raised $400 million. This should allow Autoliv to grow organically as well as to acquire more hard-pressed, smaller companies, he said.

He also said that Autoliv has applied for a EUR240 million loan from the European Investment Bank. Carlson said the loan, which is expected to be approved in a few months, would help finance the company's European-based research and development of safety products for smaller cars.

Autoliv is likely to lay off more workers, he said. It has laid off about 10,000 employees since July and now has about 33,600 workers.

Carlson expects global car production will recover this year. Car makers produced an estimated 44 million units in the first quarter, he said, and the total is expected to rise to 52 million cars in the second and third quarters, followed by 58 million cars in the fourth quarter.

"We think the low point was in the first quarter," Carlson said.

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