German car maker Volkswagen has reported a 28 per cent jump in first-quarter operating profit, after its middle market VW brand returned to growth, following the fall-out of the the German vehicle manufacturer's diesel emissions scandal.
Group operating profit came to €4.4bn (£3.74bn) in the three months to 31 March, compared with €3.4bn in the year-earlier period, Volkswagen said yesterday.
The preliminary figures show Volkswagen has bounced back from the far-reaching scandal and help cement its place as the world's biggest selling car maker.
First-quarter operating earnings at the VW brand accelerated to €900m, easily surpassing the €73m figure for the year-earlier period.
"Causal factors for the Volkswagen Brand result include the success of new model introductions, particularly the Tiguan, and a strong financial performance in the West European market," Volkswagen said in a statement.
Volkswagen said its other vehicle brands, which include Audi and Skoda, also contributed to the stronger performance.
Shares in the car maker were up more than 3.3 per cent last night on the surprise sales strength.
It said it still expected to report a full-year group return on sales of between six and seven per cent this year.
The earlier release of the main is due to disclosure requirements for financial data that is significantly different from market expectations – and in VW's case, this is a good surprise.
Full, detailed results for the quarter will be released on 3 May.
The turnaround comes as the auto giant tries to draw a line under the diesel emissions scandal. Last month it pleaded guilty to three US charges relating to the fiasco which erupted in 2015 and resulted in fines, compensation payments, expensive refits and executive job losses.
The German company's lawyer Manfred Doss said VW had committed criminal acts in both Germany and the US, and admitted that cars were fitted with software that allowed them to cheat emissions tests over six years.