Volkswagen first-half net profit plunges, maintains outlook

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest car maker, said Tuesday it's first-half net profit plunged nearly 46 percent due partly to a difficult European market but confirmed its full-year forecasts.

The group, which manufactures the Seat, Audi and Bentley models, said net profit came to 4.8 billion euros ($6.3 billion) for the first six months of the year, a 45.8 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.

The fall follows one-offs linked to its tie-up with luxury sportscar maker Porsche that helped boost last year's first-half result, as well as financial provisions.

However the figure slightly exceeded forecasts by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires who had pencilled in a net profit of 4.62 billion euros.

First-half sales grew by 3.5 percent to 98.7 billion euros, while operating or underlying profit fell 11.6 percent to 5.8 billion euros.

Despite the challenging market environment, the group was upbeat at its full-year prospects.

"We expect the Volkswagen group's 2013 sales revenue to exceed the prior-year figure," a company statement said without being specific.

"Given the ongoing uncertainty in the economic environment, the group's goal for operating profit is to match the prior-year level in 2013."

For 2013, Volkswagen expects to "outperform the market as a whole" and to boost deliveries compared to last year, the group said, reporting that 4.8 million vehicles were delivered, or 5.4 percent more year-on-year in the first six months of 2013.