Germany's Volkswagen (VLKAY) , which last year became the first car maker to admit to falsifying emissions testing, has posted a mixed bag of first-quarter figures while confirming its full-year outlook.
The Wolfsburg, Bavaria company said first-quarter revenue dropped 3.4% to just under euro 51 billion ($56.7 billion), just short of a euro 51.7 billion consensus forecast from analysts polled by Reuters, as unit sales declined and foreign exchange movements worked to its disadvantage. First-quarter operating profit came in up 3.4% at euro 3.44 billion - above the euro 3.15 billion highest estimate in the Reuters poll - after one-time gains. Net profit fell by 19.3% to euro 2.37 billion.
The results come after Volkswagen posted a net loss for 2015 of euro 1.36 billion - compared with a profit of just over euro 11 billion a year earlier, after taking euro 16.2 billion of emissions-related provisions. It also waved goodbye to CEO Martin Winterkorn in the wake of the scandal. Since then other carmakers, most notably Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) , have admitted to or become suspected of irregular testing for emissions, fuel efficiency or both.
"In light of the wide range of challenges we are currently facing, we are satisfied overall with the start we have made to what will undoubtedly be a demanding fiscal year 2016," said Volkswagen chairman Matthias Müller in a statement. "In the first quarter, we once again managed to limit the economic effects of the diesel issue and achieve respectable results under difficult conditions."
Volkswagen reiterated that it expects 2016 sales to fall by up to 5% and that it will achieve an operating return on sales of between 5% and 6%; the first-quarter return was 6.8%.
However, the forecast is contingent on how economic conditions - particularly in South Africa and Russia - play out, and on exchange rate developments.
Volkswagen shares in Frankfurt were recently up 1%, or euro 1.43, at euro 142.65.