Volkswagen AG said first-quarter profit more than tripled as the VW and Audi brands attracted Chinese customers.
Net income increased to 1.71 billion euros ($2.51 billion) from 473 million euros a year earlier, the company said on Wednesday. Profit beat the 1.63 billion-euro average of seven analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue rose 31 percent to 37.5 billion euros.
CEO Martin Winterkorn reiterated that rising demand in China will help boost revenue and operating profit this year. Deliveries will grow 5 percent in 2011 from 7.2 million cars and sport-utility vehicles in 2010, the carmaker has said. VW's first-quarter deliveries in China, the world's largest automotive market, climbed 20 percent.
VW sold a record 1.97 million vehicles globally in the quarter, led by demand for Audi's revamped A8 sedan and new A7 Sportback and VW's Tiguan compact SUV. Volkswagen is counting on growth in China, as well as Brazil, Russia and India, to help the company surpass Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's biggest carmaker.
VW said its automotive division net liquidity remains high at 19.6 billion euros after rising by 1 billion euros during the first quarter from the end of 2010.