VOLKSWAGEN shares rose as Europe's biggest car maker stuck to its targets for sales growth and stable profit this year, underscoring its strength compared with European competitors such as Peugeot Citroen, which is seeking state support.
Volkswagen still plans to "match" 2011's operating income of €11.3bn this year, even after profit slipped 1.6pc in the first nine months of 2012. It also stood by its target to beat last year's sales and auto deliveries in 2012. The stock rose as much as 4.9pc, the biggest increase in more than a month.
VW has largely shrugged off a slump in the European car market, which is poised to suffer its biggest annual decline in 19 years in 2012. VW has avoided the brunt of a five-year contraction by relying on growth in the US and China and expanding the Audi luxury brand.
"Volkswagen's performance from a sales perspective is certainly the best worldwide," said Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. "No other carmaker can keep up with its growth level."
Third-quarter operating profit declined 19pc to €2.34bn, its biggest drop since the global recession in 2009. Sales rose 27pc to €48.8bn.
"Although the times aren't easy, it's up to us to systematically continue along our chosen path," chief executive Martin Winterkorn said.
Earnings should improve in the fourth quarter helped by new generations of the VW Golf and Audi A3, chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch said. Costs to introduce those and other models based on a new platform peaked in the third quarter, he added. (Bloomberg)