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1ST LEAD Profits at Germany's VW Group despite diesel scandal; exec pay soars By Jan Petermann and Thomas Struenkelnberg, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - The core VW brand of Germany‘s Volkswagen Group posted sharply increased profits for 2017, even if the costs for dealing with the diesel emissions scandal remained high across the group, detailed figures for the year released in Berlin on Tuesday showed.

The company aims to be able to finance its planned investments in electric vehicles on the back of the results, and company executives received considerably higher pay-outs than a year previously.

VW cars posted profits of around 3.3 billion euros (4.1 billion dollars) after extraordinary costs for the diesel scandal, 1.4 billion euros more than in 2016.

The bill for the emissions scandal for VW alone came to 2.8 billion euros, down from 5.2 billion in 2016. Across the group, which includes Audi, Porsche, SEAT, Skoda and Bentley, the related costs totalled 3.2 billion euros, half as much as in the previous year.

Reviewing the year, management board chairman Matthias Mueller expressed satisfaction. "It was the year when we went onto the offensive again," he said.

The management board was paid out a total of 50.3 billion euros, up from 39.5 billion in 2016. Mueller received more than 10.1 million euros.

At the group‘s upmarket subsidiary, Audi, operating profits rose to 5.1 billion euros from 4.8 billion in 2016, after taking into account the costs from the diesel scandal, including buy-backs, recalls for adjustments to cars with manipulated software and legal costs.

Turnover at Audi was up 800 million euros at 60.1 billion.

Chief financial officer Frank Witter said that, despite the challenge posed by expenditure on the diesel scandal, the group‘s financial position was solid. "We are actively guiding the changes in our business," he said.

The group aims to invest billions of euros in electric vehicles and new services.

One point of emphasis this year is the expansion of manufacturing electric vehicles to considerably more plants, with battery-powered vehicles being made at 16 locations around the world by the end of 2022, up from just three currently.

A further nine factories will be geared up for the production of electric vehicles within two years, with partnerships planned with battery makers in Europe and China. Orders issued currently total 20 billion euros.

A decision on a supplier in North America is about to be taken.

These plans do not imply the abandoning of the internal combustion engine. The modern diesel-powered engine is part of the solution to global warning, Mueller said.

"In 2018 alone, almost 20 billion euros will be spent on our conventional vehicle and engine portfolio, and over the next five years it will total more than 90 billion euros," Mueller said.


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