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Profits rise at VW despite economic uncertainty

Volkswagen saw a 9.8% rise in pre-tax profits in the third quarter and has stuck to its 2001 financial year forecasts, despite the economic uncertainties caused by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Pre-tax profit rose to 988m euros (£620m) from the same period last year. The first nine months of 2001 saw pre-tax profit of 2.5 billion euro (£1.6 billion), up 13.6%, with sales up 6.8% to a total value of 68.2billion euro (£42.4 billion).

A company statement reads: "The effects of the attacks in the US on the development of the global economy and thus on Volkswagen's business are difficult to estimate. VW nevertheless expects full-year sales to be slightly above the previous year's level, with foreign sales continuing to help to offset weak demand at home.”

The German market, which accounts for 20 per cent of VW's unit sales and offers high margins, has fallen steadily this year amid slower German growth. Unit sales in Germany in the first three quarters of this year totaled 747,000, down 4.3 per cent from the same period last year.

VW's premium brand Audi earlier this month reported a 10.7% rise in sales and 12% increase in pre-tax profits to 700m euros (£435m)for the first nine months of the year.

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