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VOL. 42 | NO. 43 | Friday, October 26, 2018

Volkswagen profit rises despite emissions certification woes

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen saw net profit more than double in the third quarter even as sales fell due to delays certifying vehicles for new emissions tests.

Profit rose to 2.76 billion euros ($3.14 billion) from an adjusted figure of 1.07 billion in the same period last year. Sales revenue rose 0.9 percent to 55.2 billion euros, the company said Tuesday.

Vehicles sales, however, fell 3.6 percent in the quarter, to 2.54 million, as the company failed to get vehicles certified in time for new European emissions tests intended to more closely reflect cars' pollution levels.

The company nonetheless reaffirmed its sales outlook for the full year and Volkswagen shares rose 3 percent in morning trading, to 146.70 euros.

The new tests took effect Sept. 1 and follow increased scrutiny of diesel emissions after Volkswagen's 2015 scandal in which it was caught using software to turn emissions controls off when vehicles were not being tested. The result was emissions that were much higher in real-life driving. Other automakers were subsequently found to be using regulatory loopholes that permitted disabling of emissions controls at certain temperatures.

Volkswagen has paid more than 28 billion euros ($32 billion) in fines and penalties, two executives went to prison in the U.S. and former CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged by U.S. authorities, although he cannot be extradited.

Volkswagen said it had fewer one-time deductions to earnings in the third quarter. There were 800 million euros in one-time costs, compared with 2.6 billion euros in the year-ago quarter.

The company's Audi division was fined 800 million euros this month for failing to exercise sufficient oversight to prevent the emissions cheating. The fine does not end investigations against individuals at Audi. Former division head Rupert Stadler was jailed while German prosecutors investigate; a court in Munich on Tuesday ordered his release on bail.

Looking ahead, the company said it was sticking to its earnings and sales forecasts for the year. It said deliveries to customers would "moderately surpass" last year's record sales of 10.7 million vehicles. That made Volkswagen the biggest carmaker in the world, although the title was disputed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which sold 10.6 million and said Volkswagen was counting trucks as well.

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