VW expects record profits from SUVs and cost cutting


WOLFSBURG, Germany — Volkswagen's namesake core brand is on track to post a record operating profit this year thanks to cost savings and its increased sales of sport utility vehicles, a senior manager of the unit said.

The Wolfsburg-based group faces heavy investments into cleaner and self-driving technologies and is has increased sales share of higher-margin SUVs to help fund an industry-wide shift toward low emission vehicles, with EVs and hybrids prominent among 34 new vehicle models or powertrains to be rolled out in 2020.

VW's core brand in 2019 has gained market share and has increased its operating profit substantially, Chief Operating Officer Ralf Brandstaetter said. He added the division had increased its share of SUVs sold to 42% in the United States and 37% in Europe.

Of envisaged cost savings of 3 billion euros (£2.58 billion) by 2020, 2.6 billion euros have been realized at the end of 2019, Brandstaetter said.

"On this basis, we can secure profitability so that we can systematically invest in the electrification and digitization of our products," the executive said, referring to both cost cuts and the increased share of SUVs.

He cautioned though that costs in German plants were still too high and that productivity must be increased there.