In the first quarter of the 2019 financial year, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand performed solidly in a challenging market environment. The lead brand of the Volkswagen Group was able to boost sales revenue and operating profit in the first three months despite a slight fall in deliveries. With an improved product mix, the sales revenue of the Volkswagen brand grew by 7.1 percent to €21.5 billion. After three months, the operating profit before special impacts was 4.8 percent up on the prior-year figure, at €921 million. Here too, Volkswagen benefited from an improved product mix, positive developments in product costs and especially an improvement in fixed costs. In the first quarter, the operating return on sales was at about the same level as in the previous year, at 4.3 percent. In the reporting period, legal risks gave rise to special items in the amount of €0.4 billion in connection with the processing of the diesel issue.
“The Volkswagen brand has made a good start to the new financial year. The figures for the first three months show that our consistent focus on improving efficiency and cost discipline within the company is the right approach and is bearing fruit. We must continue with the approach which we have adopted with a view to sustainably improving the earnings power of Volkswagen. At the same time, we are investing strongly in future- oriented technologies such as the MEB, the digitalization of our products and the implementation of our product offensive,” said Dr. Arno Antlitz Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Finance.
In the first quarter, the brand was able to boost market shares. Nevertheless, deliveries fell by 4.5 percent to 1,456,400 vehicles as a result of the sluggish overall market. The Volkswagen brand is continuing its product offensive this year and is especially adding SUV models such as the new T-Cross to its portfolio. Demand for these model variants across the market segments continues to be strong in many regions.
In terms of fixed costs, the Volkswagen brand recorded in the first quarter of 2019 an improvement of about €200 million compared with the prior- year quarter. This improvement was chiefly due to the consistent implementation of the measures defined in the pact for the future (‘Zukunftspakt’). “During the remainder of the financial year, we will need to make further efforts to accommodate risks arising from the markets,” said Antlitz.
The Volkswagen brand is also working to improve the productivity of its plants globally. By 2025, the brand intends to boost the productivity of its plants by 30 percent. In addition to consistent investment discipline and plant deployment across the boundaries of brands and models, Volkswagen expects considerable efficiency effects for its plants in the future from the use of new technologies such as the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud.
In the first three months of 2019, net operating cash flow before cash outflow caused by the diesel issue amounted to about €0.6 billion.
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