VW sees ‘good start’ to 2018 despite profits slip

Frankfurt am Main: German car giant Volkswagen on Thursday reported a small drop in profits but nonetheless said strong sales got the year off to “a good start”, as new CEO Herbert Diess pushes on with a post-dieselgate revamp of the behemoth.
VW said it booked a net profit of 3.22 billion euros ($3.9 billion) between January and March, down nearly three per cent on the same period a year earlier and slightly below analyst expectations.
Underlying or operating profit slipped by 3.6 per cent to 4.2 billion euros, the firm said, blaming the drop mainly on accounting changes and negative currency effects.
Revenues hit 58.2 billion euros, up 3.6 per cent year-on-year, as the VW group with its stable of 12 brands delivered a record 2.7 million vehicles in the first quarter. In a statement, the Wolfsburg-based company said the year was “off to a good start”.
Demand for VW vehicles — which also includes luxury Audi and Porsche and the more affordable Skoda and Seat makes — was driven by the Asia-Pacific region, led by China’s strong appetite for SUVs. “Once again, the growth driver was the Chinese passenger car market,” VW said.
The picture in western Europe was more mixed, with sales slowing in Italy and Britain, while dealerships in Germany were boosted by the robust economy and the popularity of a trade-in scheme for older diesel engines. The first-quarter results are the first to be announced since VW brand chief Diess unexpectedly replaced Matthias Mueller as chief executive earlier this month, as the group seeks to draw a line under the diesel emissions rigging scandal. — AFP