April 27, 2018 / 7:05 AM / a month ago

Volkswagen eyes further productivity gains in months ahead

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) expects productivity at its core autos brand to keep growing in the months ahead because of cost cuts and full availability of higher-margin models launched last year.

A worker makes final checks on an e-Golf electric car at the new production line of the Transparent Factory of German carmaker Volkswagen in Dresden, Germany March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

“We have costs under control and are making good progress on raising productivity,” brand finance chief Arno Antlitz said on Friday. “We will continue this course rigorously in the next months.”

Europe’s largest automotive group had reported on Thursday that negative effects of 300 million euros ($363.18 million) from adopting new accounting standards caused operating profit to drop 3.6 percent in the first quarter.

The Volkswagen logo is seen at their plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Without the changes, earnings came in slightly above last year’s 4.37 billion euros.

    Profitability at the VW brand slid to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent on advance costs for its electric-car program and spending on new combustion models.

    The VW brand last year introduced four all-new models in the fast-growing sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, including the T-Roc and Atlas, that will enjoy their first full year of sales in 2018, and is about to launch redesigns of the Touareg SUV and the Jetta sedan, its top-selling product in the United States.

    The division said it expects the positive business development to continue in the coming months and stuck with its guidance for an operating margin of between 4 and 5 percent this year after 4.1 percent in 2017.

    ($1 = 0.8260 euros)

    Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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