Volkswagen Brand Profit Sinks 86 Percent; Company Thanks God for All Those Other Brands

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen brand profit sinks 86 percent company thanks god for all those other

First-quarter earnings just released by Volkswagen Group show a massive hit to the company’s namesake brand, all thanks to fallout from the diesel emissions scandal.

Profit at Volkswagen passenger cars fell 86 percent to 73 million euros ($81 million), down from 514 million euros last year. That plunge leaves the brand with a nano particle-thin operating margin of 0.3 percent.

Still, the scandal isn’t a killing blow for the company. Why? Investment advisers aren’t lying when they say diversity is key to weathering shocks.

Overall operating profit was up 3.4 percent at Volkswagen Group (3.44 billion euros), despite revenue falling by the same amount, to 51 billion euros. The sound you hear is a corporate group hug for the money-making Porsche, Audi and Skoda brands.

Porsche and Skoda profits rose sharply over last year’s results, while Audi maintained its healthy state, despite flat sales. Also helping the company were currency changes that bolstered the $18.2 billion set aside to deal with the cost of the scandal.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller praised the parts of his company that weren’t Volkswagen, saying the company’s broad portfolio will help what promises to be a bad, bad year.

“In light of the wide range of challenges we are currently facing, we are satisfied overall with the start we have made to what will undoubtedly be a demanding fiscal year 2016,” Mueller said in a release. “In the first quarter, we once again managed to limit the economic effects of the diesel issue and achieve respectable results under difficult conditions.”

Over the course of 2016, the company expects revenues to decline by as much as five percent.

[Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg] [Image: ©2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Mike Mike on May 31, 2016

    I was expecting some deals on GTIs, but even with the $1,000 manufacturer incentive, most dealerships around here seem to be clinging to the MSRP like a liferaft. Maybe the GTI/Golf R are the only VWs that managed to weather the scandal simply because of cult status and/or consumers who want that specific car regardless (like me), so the dealers are making hay where they can? But the Autobahn with DSG and performance package, which seems to be the only trim level that you can get the PP with these days, and which stickered for almost $36,000, was a non-negotiable $1,000 below sticker (thanks to incentive). They simply would not even consider anything less than $35,765. I walked and no one even bothered to send so much as an email to get me back into the dealership. Also worth noting the VW dealership offered $2,500 less on my trade than a local Honda offered a month prior, which even then was almost $2,000 less than Edmunds TMV for trade-in. It's almost like they'r enot even trying, at least in Central Texas.

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    • Mike Mike on May 31, 2016

      @derekson Even used ones are selling far above book. For example - http://www.nylemaxwellcdjr.com/auto/used-2013-volkswagen-gti-austin-78717-tx/10198367/ Again, according to Edmunds TMV, dealer retail on this exact car is just over $19k, which is $3k less than the dealer is asking. And again, just like the factory dealer, they are unwilling to budge more than $500.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jun 01, 2016

    Knowing VW, the income decrease at the VW brand is likely due to accounting tricks. VW did previously announce that they were binning all recall related costs to that brand only; if they followed through, the capital reserves they put on the side to pay for the debacle may account for the plunge in earnings. It would be more instructive to see what happened to their sales.

  • Buickman GoneFast.
  • SCE to AUX I sat in a 200 in the showroom, and promptly walked away. The back seat was extremely awkward to ingress/egress, and the car was small inside.Turns out even Sergio agreed, and he was upset about it: https://www.carscoops.com/2016/01/sergio-marchionne-admits-that-chrysler/The attractive exterior hid a terrible car. Those early 9-spd autos were awful.
  • Pianoboy57 I've always thought the 300D was just about the perfect car. Mine would have been green like my current Outback is. Once upon a time there was a Volvo diesel at the nearby BHPH lot. Too bad nobody rescued that one. I did have the privilege of owning a TDI Sportwagen and I would have kept my 02 Passat if it had been a diesel wagon. A few years ago I used to see older TDI Passats for sale on CL by owners who claim to have taken good care of them. Too bad you can't get a diesel in an Outback.
  • ToolGuy "A 920-volt electric system is rumored to enable faster charging times than any EV on sale today." If you can find a compatible charger, that is??• Differing voltage standards -- yet another way to slow down EV adoption.Engineers R Awesome™
  • SCE to AUX "without a must-have feature or selling point, the VF8 won't be top-of-mind for buyers"Yep, that's the problem with any new product, let alone an entire aspiring brand. I think they hoped the battery subscription would be a helpful distinctive, but they discovered that it was a negative instead.Perhaps they got their product launch guidance from Ford.
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