Volkswagen lifts 2017 forecast

The world’s largest carmaker Volkswagen lifted slightly its forecast for the full year Thursday, hailing strong performance even as it faces a brewing scandal at home in Germany.

The group based in Wolfsburg, northern Germany reported net profits attributable to shareholders of 3.1 billion euros ($3.63 billion) between April and June, up from 1.15 billion in the same period last year.

Operating, or underlying profits grew to 4.5 billion euros compared with 1.9 billion in 2016’s second quarter, on the back of revenues increasing 4.7 percent to 59.7 billion.

“We are financially well-equipped for the transformation of the automobile industry and the questions of the future,” chief financial officer Frank Witter said in a statement.

Looking ahead to the full year, VW expects to increase revenue by “more than 4.0 percent” compared with 2016, a slight increase on its previous ambition of “up to 4.0 percent”.

The group continues to predict growth in operating profits of between 6.0 and 7.0 percent.

Volkswagen’s results in 2016 were sapped by the fallout from a diesel emissions scandal that saw it admit to cheating regulatory tests on 11 million vehicles worldwide.

It has now committed to paying out tens of billions of dollars in fines and compensation payments in the United States alone, while refitting vehicles in the European Union to meet emissions standards.

But a new scandal has already surfaced affecting not only VW, but other pillars of the German car industry BMW and Daimler.

The European Commission is investigating allegations that five German firms — BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen with its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche — collaborated for decades on many aspects of car development, production, sales and logistics, disadvantaging customers and suppliers.

Brussels’ executive arm can fine companies up to 10 percent of their annual revenue to punish anticompetitive behaviour.

In a statement late Wednesday Volkswagen said it had “no comment to make at the present time on details of these issues or on speculation.”

It added however that discussing the feasibility of new technologies and safety standards between manufacturers “is in many instances necessary and valid”.