WOLFSBURG (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn said he's adding extra shifts at factories to keep up with rising demand from customers.
"Our group is expecting a strong first quarter on all fronts," Winterkorn said today at VW's annual investors and press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Two-month global sales at VW, which also includes the Audi luxury brand and Czech division Skoda, increased 18 percent to more than 1.2 million cars, the CEO said. VW's order books are "well filled" and production is running "at full stretch."
Volkswagen is counting on growth in Brazil, Russia, India and China to narrow its gap with Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest carmaker. VW forecasts sales will grow 5 percent this year after reporting a record 7.2 million deliveries of cars and SUVs in 2010. Sales in China last year advanced 37 percent to 1.92 million cars.
Net income surged sevenfold last year to 6.84 billion euros ($9.46 billion) from 960 million euros in 2009, VW said Feb. 25. Revenue rose 21 percent to 127 billion euros, powered by gains at the Audi and VW brands.
VW reaffirmed today it expects 2011 revenue to exceed year- ago levels and operating profit to surpass the 2010 record of 7.14 billion euros. VW proposed a 2010 dividend of 2.20 euros per common share and 2.26 euros per preferred share.
VW is adding shifts "in many locations" to meet growing demand, the CEO said. The carmaker halted production on Jan. 31 at its main Wolfsburg factory and a plant in Emden amid tight component supplies stemming from parts-makers' struggle to keep up with vehicle demand.
"VW moved into the fast lane in 2010 and that is where we intend to stay in the current year," Winterkorn said. "We're now laying the foundations for profitable growth in all segments and business fields."