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VW Says Coronavirus Makes Outlook Impossible As 2019 Profits Rise

Volkswagen Group said its full-year operating profit rose 22% to 16.9 billion euros ($18.5 bln) thanks to strong sales of higher-margin cars and lower diesel charges.

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Volkswagen Group on Tuesday warned that the spread of the coronavirus made it impossible to give an outlook for 2020 as it unveiled a rise in full-year operating profit, boosted by strong sales of sports utility vehicles.

Only last month Volkswagen had predicted that vehicle deliveries this year would be stable at 2019 levels and forecast an operating return on sales in the range of 6.5% to 7.5% in 2020, but said this depended on external factors.

"The spread of coronavirus is currently impacting the global economy. It is uncertain how severely or for how long this will also affect the Volkswagen Group. Currently, it is almost impossible to make a reliable forecast," Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said in a statement.

Volkswagen Group said its full-year operating profit rose 22% to 16.9 billion euros ($18.5 bln) thanks to strong sales of higher-margin cars and lower diesel charges, defying an industry downturn that has cut the earnings of rivals.

Earnings were driven by higher profits at its VW, Porsche, Seat and Skoda brands, and a return to profitability for Bentley.

Improvements in the mix and price positioning in particular compensated for lower sales of Volkswagen Passenger Cars models and for launch costs and negative exchange rate effects, the company said.

(Reuters)


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