Car companies see lucrative quarter

Car companies see lucrative quarter

Car companies see lucrative quarter

A visitor takes a photo of an Audi car at Auto China 2012 in Beijing April 23. Volkswagen, which also owns Audi, has posted 3.19 billion euros in quarterly net profits.REUTERS photo

Germany’s Volkswagen, Europe’s largest car maker, posted dramatic profit figures for the first three months of the year as Asian rivals –Mitsubishi and Hyundai– did not lag behind.

Volkswagen said yesterday its first quarter net profit nearly doubled 3.19 billion euros ($4.2 billion) from 1.71 billion euros in the same period the year before following a big spike in sales.

Volkswagen group, which also includes brands such as Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley, says sales rose by 26 percent from 37.47 billion euros to 47.33 billion euros on the year.

The Wolfsburg-based company said the delivery of new cars to clients rose from 2 million to 2.2 million units in the January through March period.

CEO Martin Winterkorn confirmed the company’s bullish outlook for rising sales in 2012 despite the uncertainties stemming from Europe’s persistent sovereign debt crisis.

Mitsubishi Motors also said yesterday its net profit for the fiscal year to March soared, by 53.2 percent, partly driven by cost cutting, even as its last-quarter results tumbled on a strong yen.

Japan’s fourth-largest auto maker said it earned 23.9 billion yen ($294 million) in the past year, up from 15.6 billion yen in the year-earlier period.

Operating profit surged 58.1 percent to 63.7 billion yen as sales slipped to 1.81 trillion yen in the 12 months since Japan was devastated by a quake-tsunami disaster, down 1.2 percent from the previous year.

The disaster, which pounded Japanese manufacturers and forced plant closures, was followed by record flooding in Thailand later in 2011, hurting Japanese firms with operations in the Southeast Asian nation.

“The automobile industry has had to continue to operate in a difficult environment,” Mitsubishi said in a statement yesterday.

South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor said yesterday its first-quarter net profit jumped 31 percent from a year earlier thanks to strong sales overseas and reduced marketing costs.

Consolidated net profit was 2.45 trillion won ($2.15 billion) in January-March compared with 1.87 trillion won a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 11 percent year-on-year to 20.16 trillion won and operating profit climbed 25 percent to 2.28 trillion won.

 Overseas sales -- both cars shipped from South Korea and those made by Hyundai’s overseas plants -- reached 917,879 units in the first quarter, up 22 percent from the year before.

But the company said domestic sales declined 7 percent year-on-year to 154,800 units.

The U.S. automaker Chrysler, which is controlled by Fiat of Italy, reported yesterday a four-fold leap in first quarter profit to $473 million (357 million euros) from $116 million in the same period a year earlier.

Compiled from AFP and AP reports by the Daily News staff in Istanbul.