Germany's Volkswagen AG saw its 2010 earnings soar to 6.84 billion euros ($9.4 billion) as revenue climbed more than 20 percent, creating the automaking group's most successful year ever, the company said Friday.
Net profit attributable to shareholders was up from 960 million euros ($1.3 billion) a year earlier, Europe's largest car maker said.
The total revenue of the group — which also includes brands such as Audi, Skoda or Seat — was up to 126.9 billion euros ($174.6 billion) in 2010 from 105.2 billion euros the previous year. That led to an operating profit of 7.1 billion euros ($9.8 billion).
CEO Martin Winterkorn said the company in 2010 put the economic crisis fully behind it and enjoyed "the best year in the history of the Volkswagen Group" in terms of revenue, operating and net profit.
Vehicle deliveries in 2010 were up by 13 percent to 7.2 million, another record, the company said.
The company, based in Wolfsburg, also gave a bullish outlook as it sees strong growth in China and elsewhere, saying it expects revenue and operating profit this year to top its 2010 results. China is Volkswagen's biggest single market.
In the U.S., Volkswagen is betting in 2011 on the launch of its new Passat model, which is to go on sale sometime after July 1, with a base price of around $20,000.
The launch received wide attention with a Super Bowl ad that quickly went viral, showing a boy in a Darth Vader costume trying to use "The Force" on objects including the Passat.
Volkswagen's shares jumped by 5.7 percent on the announcement to 118.20 euros ($162.67) in late Frankfurt trading.
The company also nominated two new members to its supervisory board: Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari of Qatar Holding LLC, which holds a 17 percent stake in Volkswagen, and Annika Falkengren, CEO of the Swedish bank SEB.
Falkengren is the first woman nominated by Volkswagen to the 20-member board, although there have already been female directors nominated by the employee side. Employee representatives make up half of the board.
Volkswagen did not publish fourth-quarter figures — those are due in its full earnings report on March 10. For the third quarter, Volkswagen reported a profit of euro2.1 billion amid a jump in demand from China and strong sales by its Audi division.
Volkswagen also holds a 49.9 percent of sports car manufacturer Porsche, but it suffered a setback this week in its bid to fully consolidate the highly profitable Stuttgart-based company by the end of 2011.
Porsche said an expanding legal investigation over alleged wrongdoing by former executives of the sports car maker is set to drag on until early 2012, and Volkswagen appears keen on staying away from a full merger until that risk can be ruled out.
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