FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen brand's first-quarter profit rose 4.8 percent as cost cutting and higher-margin SUVs boosted earnings despite an overall fall in vehicle sales for the period.
Operating profit before special items rose to 921 million euros, VW said in a statement on Friday.
Sales revenue was up 7.1 percent to 21.5 billion euros, while registrations fell 4.5 percent to 1.45 million.
VWs first-quarter operating margin was 4.3 percent, a figure that the brand expects will be between 4 percent and 5 percent for the whole of 2019. By 2022, VW wants the figure to rise to 6 percent.
Volkswagen said it is also working to improve the productivity of its core brand. By 2025, the marque will boost the productivity of its global plants by 30 percent, VW said.
VW said a significant financial impact as a result of the second stage of the changeover to the WLTP emissions testing regime is not expected this year.
VW brand's parent, Volkswagen Group, said on Thursday that group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell to 3.9 billion euros from 4.2 billion a year earlier. Premium brands Porsche and Audi remain key profit contributors, accounting for about 40 percent of group EBIT.