Fleet News

Volkswagen announces profit rise

VOLKSWAGEN Group has announced first quarter pre-tax profits of DM1,205 million (£362 million), a 15.3% rise on the same period last year on a 14.5% increase in sales to DM40,957 (£12,720 million). A new record in worldwide deliveries was set for January- March with 1,257,082 units (up 6.1% on 1999) and all group brands showed sales increases, and the manufacturer's board of management has predicted 'significant growth' in profits for 2000.

Broken down by brand, VW passenger cars sold 778,692 units (up 2.9%), VW commercials 77,922 (up 6.6%), Audi 165,307 (up 13.4%), SEAT 135,941 (up 15%), Skoda 98,676 (up 9.2%), Rolls-Royce and Bentley 481 (up 37.4%) and Lamborghini 63 (up 43.2%).Group sales in VW's home market fell by 7.3%, but in Western Europe, excluding Germany, there was a 5.8% rise.

The best growth was seen in North America, up 38.8% to 153,869 units - a 30.1% climb for VW and a massive 63.9% boost for Audi. The manufacturer credited the success to continued strong growth in the US economy. The major profit generator remained VW cars (placed sixth in April's UK fleet sales table), but favourable exchange rates had helped the marque increase earnings. Production and launch expenses for the new A2 meant Audi failed to keep pace with 1999 first quarter results and Rolls-Royce/Bentley returned a loss due to 'up-front expenses' for the modernisation of its product range.

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