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VW Sales, Profits on the Rise

image VW logoProfit for the Volkswagen Group rose 28.5 percent to 3.7 billion euros (about $5.6 billion, depending on the exchange rate) for the first nine months of 2008, bucking the downward trend for most automakers, and in sharp contrast to the troubles of the Detroit 3.

VW said it continues to expect that its sales, revenue and operating profit for the full year will be ahead of 2007, "despite the dramatic deterioration in global economic conditions and the automotive industry environment in recent months," said CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch.

Volkswagen has big plans for the U.S. market. Volkswagen of America, including the Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini brands, wants to sell around 800,000 units a year by 2018, way more than double its total of about 328,000 in 2007. The company is building a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. that will supply much of the expected increase.

"Volkswagen has performed well so far in a difficult environment," said Chairman Martin Winterkorn, in VW's third-quarter earnings announcement, on Oct. 30.

Besides higher profits, Volkswagen shares skyrocketed recently as a result of its ongoing takeover by Porsche SE. The situation has caught a lot of short-sellers in a losing bet that VW shares would go down.

In a recent statement, Porsche denied any responsibility for their predicament. But The New York Times speculated on Oct. 31 that Porsche had engineered a "corner" in VW shares that was both ruining the "shorts" and potentially making a big profit for Porsche.

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