After reporting a 26-percent drop in operating profit in the first quarter of 2012 to EUR2.34 billion ($3.04 billion), Volkswagen Group is expecting its business to pick up for the rest of the year as overseas markets continue to grow. VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn said during the carmaker’s annual shareholders' meeting that except for North America and China, all regions were marked "by often significant uncertainty," adding that core European markets would remain extremely weak for the foreseeable future.
VW’s CEO remarked that European debt crisis remains a source of "far-reaching turmoil." Winterkorn said that regardless of whether VW is in an upturn or a downturn, their goal is to ensure that the group reaches the top of the automotive industry.
VW reiterated its full-year targets for 2013 "despite all economic uncertainties," standing by its goal to match record earnings of EUR11.5 billion set in 2012 and to push sales and deliveries to new records.
In a bid to boost gains, the VW Group plans to open 1,500 sales outlets in growth regions in the medium term, aside from adding to its network of 20,000 dealers worldwide, Winterkorn said. VW’s presence in China, Brazil and Russia has allowed it to offset the effects of the slumping European market better than its volume rivals.
VW Group also plans to roll out 60 new and updated models this year. Winterkorn disclosed that Porsche will launch the Macan compact sport-utility vehicle in early 2014 while the development of an ultra-luxury SUV for Bentley is "well under way." On the other hand, Skoda will double its lineup in China to six models.