Due largely to heavy losses at Volkswagen's Spanish Seat and British Bentley brands, Volkswagen has reported a drop in operating profit, from EUR4.9bn (US$7.3bn) in the first nine months of 2008 to EUR1.5bn (US$2.1bn) in the first nine months of 2009.
Meanwhile, net liquidity in its automotive division increased to EUR13.4bn (US$20bn) from EUR5.4bn (US$8bn) at the end of 2008.
Nevertheless, VW still expects a full year drop in earnings due to weaker sales and rising refinancing costs. In a Reuters poll of analysts, it was estimated that VW's operating profit for the third quarter would be EUR415m (US$620m) but the actual amount recorded was EUR278m (US$415.3m).
In the first nine months, automotive net cash flow amounted to EUR5.1bn (US$7.6bn). CEO Martin Winterkorn said that "premature optimism" shouldn't be what carmakers should be thinking since the trend in the automotive industry doesn't call for it.
He said that the business climate remains "tough." Audi's 12% drop in car sales meant that its nine-month operating profit fell to EUR1.2bn (US$ 1.8bn) from EUR2.1bn (US$3.1bn).
Skoda's operating profit dropped to EUR162m (US$242m) from EUR455m (US$680m) following a 19% fall in sales. Meanwhile, losses at Seat rose to EUR228m (US$340.6m) from EUR30m (US$44.8m).
Bentley recorded a EUR148m (US$221m) loss from an EUR83m (US$124m) profit the year before stemming from a slump in luxury car sales. VW clarified that its nine-month results did not include a EUR500m (US$7474m) profit from its joint ventures in China , its largest market.