WOLFSBURG - Volkswagen AG is headed for a record year in spite of the slump in Brazil, its second-biggest market.
VW's profits after tax rose 76.9 percent to DM1.5 billion ($825 million) during the first nine months of the year on sales up 19 percent to DM100 billion, compared with the same period in 1997.
The strong performance in the first three quarters assured that the group would exceed 1997's earnings for the full year, the company said.
The company said VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda had all made contributions to the profits.
VW Group sales in Brazil fell 28.2 percent to 344,000 units in the nine-month period.
However, the Asian economic crisis has had little direct effect on VW. Most of VW's Asian sales are in China, which has so far been relatively unaffected by the downturn in the region.
Unit sales within Germany climbed 12.7 percent to 844,801 units, though dealers have reported supply difficulties with some models, particularly the Golf.
Sales outside Germany climbed 10.3 percent to 2,688,906 units.
Sales in the USA were boosted by the introduction of the New Beetle and the Passat. VW brand sales jumped 61 percent to 171,000 units in the first nine months in the USA. Of these, 36,000 were New Beetles and 29,000 were Passats.
The group's fastest growing subsidiary was Skoda - up 19.6 percent to 305,000 units. The VW brand was up 12.1 percent to 2.4 million units.
Worldwide, VW Group production rose 11.4 percent to 3.6 million units - including 313 Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars, which have been part of VW since 4 July.