Volkswagen Group Q1 Profit Spikes; Posts record sales image

Volkswagen Group, Europe’s largest automaker reported a surge in its first-quarter profit after tax to 3.19 billion euros from last year’s 1.71 billion euros – despite low demand for vehicles in the carmaker’s western European core markets.

The Volkswagen Group increased its sales revenue by 26.3 percent in the first three months of the year to €47.3 billion (€37.5 billion). Operating profit rose by 10.2 percent to €3.2 billion (€2.9 billion) and the operating return on sales was 6.8 percent (7.8 percent).

The figure beat the 2.66 billion-euro average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“It’s a very strong beat and flies in the face of the bearish mass-market view,” said David Arnold, a sales specialist at Credit Suisse in London. “VW just keeps printing money.”

VW shares rose as much as 7.70 euros, or 6.1 percent, to 133.90 euros, the biggest intra-day gain since Nov. 30, and traded at that level as of 10:31 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Volkswagen group — which also includes brands such as Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley — says it aims for its 2012 operating profit to match 2011 level, anticipating its sales revenue to exceed the prior year figure.

In addition, relying on continued expansion of car markets in Asia, the United States, Latin America and Russia, VW stood by its goal to increase deliveries beyond last year’s record 8.3 million vehicles.