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Volkswagen reports profits jump on China growth, luxury brands

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest auto group, on Thursday posted a robust quarterly net profit thanks to growth in China and higher profits at its luxury car divisions Audi and Porsche. 

FRANKFURT: Volkswagen, Europe's biggest auto group, on Thursday (July 31) posted a robust quarterly net profit thanks to growth in China and higher profits at its luxury car divisions Audi and Porsche.

In the quarter from April to June, the German group's net profit surged 12.5 percent to 3.2 billion euros (US$4.3 billion, S$5.35). But the strong euro weighed on group sales, which declined two percent to around 51 billion euros, while operating profit dropped three percent to 3.3 billion euros.

The VW brand itself saw operating profit fall to 1.01 billion euros during the first six months of the year from 1.49 billion euros a year ago.

"We have delivered a good financial performance in the first half of the year despite headwinds," chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement, citing weakening emerging markets and the cost of investing in new technologies. However strong demand in China offset negative results in other key regions, as did profit growth at its Audi and Porsche divisions.

The strong sales figures put it within striking distance of its Japanese rival Toyota, the global market leader. VW sold 5.07 million units in the first half of the year, up 5.6 percent compared to last year. Toyota moved 5.09 million units in the same period.

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