VW Expects 'Significant' Revenue Increase In 2021

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German auto giant Volkswagen on Friday said it expected to see a significant sales increase this year as the industry bounces back from the coronavirus shock.

The group, which also includes the Porsche, Audi and Skoda brands, booked a net profit of 8.8 billion euros ($10.6 billion) for 2020, a 37-percent plunge on the year before.

VW said it had been badly hit by global lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic, but the damage was mitigated thanks to a swift rebound in the key Chinese market.

"The Volkswagen group closed fiscal year 2020 stronger than expected despite the Covid-19 pandemic," it said in a statement.

Sales revenue for 2020 amounted to 222.9 billion euros, down almost 12 percent on 2019.

Like other carmakers, VW suffered from production disruptions and dealership closures last year as countries imposed shutdowns to slow the initial spread of Covid-19.

Virus curbs eased in the second half of the year, allowing customers to return to showrooms and factory lines to keep rolling.

While optimistic about 2021, VW did note the lack of microchips that have plagued carmakers While optimistic about 2021, VW did note the lack of microchips that have plagued carmakers  AFP / Ronny Hartmann

VW's chief financial officer Frank Witter said the group was "optimistic" about hitting the higher end of its targets for 2021.

"We intend to carry over the strong momentum from the significantly better second half into the current year, and the programmes for reducing our fixed costs and in procurement will make us more robust in the long term," he said.

VW said it expects sales revenues to be "significantly higher" than last year, while car deliveries would also be "significantly up" on 2020.

The group sold 9.2 million vehicles last year.

VW cautioned however that the forecasts are based on the "successful containment" of the pandemic.

It said much would also depend on the global economic outlook.

It highlighted supply chain upsets as key challenge to watch, in a nod to the industry's current semiconductor shortage as the pandemic boosts demand for crucial microchips that are also used in consumer electronics.

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