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VW defies gravity and the world recession

Powering on: The ageing VW Golf helped Volkswagen post an increased profit in tough times in 2008.

VW posts 15 per cent profit rise despite the world financial crisis

16 Mar 2009

VOLKSWAGEN has lifted vehicles sales and profits in 2008 in a performance which has put even the mighty Toyota in the shade.

Profit for the extended VW group – including Audi and financial services – was up 15.4 per cent to €4.75 billion ($A9.33 billion).

The VW profit contrasts sharply with BMW’s 89.5 per cent slump in earnings to €330 million ($A654 million) profit for the 12 months to December.

VW’s performance was doubly impressive given that the profit growth more than trebled the 4.5 per cent growth in revenues, to €114 billion ($224 billion).

The strong result reflected a lot of work inside the group to cut product costs by €1 billion and to optimise processes.

VW board of management chairman Martin Winterkorn said the changes had enabled the group to safeguard its earning power and competitiveness in the long term.

“Without the dramatic slump on the automotive markets, we would have lifted out results into an entirely new dimension,” Professor Dr Winterkorn said.

But he warned that falling sales, rising refinancing costs and a sales swing towards less profitable countries would hold the group back in 2009.

“In such a situation, it will not be possible to reach the high level of earnings achieved in previous years,” Professor Winterkorn said.

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