German automaker Volkswagen AG on Wednesday reported a jump in earnings for the third quarter of 2010 and said it has set its sights on becoming the global leader in the car industry.
Volkswagen said net earnings rose to 2.1 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in the July to September period of 2010, more than 13 times the 161 million euros it earned in the same period of last year.
Demand from China, Western Europe and North and South America continued to drive demand, the company said. New models, VW's Passat and Audi's A7 Sportback, quattro Concept and e-tron Spyder were among top sellers. Sales in China amounted to 1.36 billion euros, or some 1.5 million vehicles.
The company, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, said it saw an 18 percent increase in revenue to 30.7 billion euros, compared with 26 billion euros in the same period last year. Overall the Volkswagen group, which includes the Audi, Skoda and Seat, sold 1.7 million cars, a 7.5 percent increase over last year's third quarter.
"Increased demand for our group models and our disciplined cost management led to these strong results, which have strengthened our sound financial base," said Hans Dieter Poetsch, VW's chief financial officer.
VW said that operating profit was 1.9 billion euros, compared with 278 million euros in the third quarter of 2009.
Chief executive Martin Winterkorn said the "pole position" in the automotive industry was "firmly in our sights," although the company noted that sales were expected to cool in the fourth quarter.
The company is expected to bring more new models onto the market in the final quarter of the year.
Investors rallied at the report, driving VW shares up 3.4 percent to 19.5 euros in late afternoon trading in Frankfurt.
Last week, Volkswagen announced that its profit after tax for the January-September period rose to nearly 4.03 billion euros from 655 million euros a year earlier.
Operating profit for the nine-month period rose to 4.83 billion euros from 1.52 billion euros.
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