FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group's second-quarter operating profit rose 30 percent despite a drop in vehicle sales, helped by VW brand's higher-margin SUVs and rising volumes at Porsche and Skoda.
Operating profit rose to 5.13 billion euros ($5.71 billion), up from 3.94 billion in the second quarter last year, the automaker said in a statement on Thursday. Vehicle sales fell 1.8 percent.
The operating profit jump was magnified by the absence of a diesel charge that VW booked in the year-earlier period.
VW has been so far more resilient to industry turmoil that has hit automakers and their suppliers. Both BMW and Daimler scaled down their outlook this year as softening sales compounded a squeeze on profits from record spending to develop electric and self-driving cars.
The 12-brand group, whose marques include Porsche, Audi and Bentley, is getting a boost from sharing components across nameplates. Its MQB architecture saves costs across its vast lineup of small and mid-size vehicles, Credit Suisse said in a note this week.
VW reiterated it expects vehicle deliveries in 2019 to exceed a prior-year figure and for revenues in the passenger cars and commercial vehicles divisions to grow at least 5 percent. The automaker said it continues to expect an operating return on sales in the passenger cars area between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent.
Models such as the VW T-Roc crossover and Skoda Karoq account for some 35 percent of deliveries this year compared with 25 percent last year, a turnaround after VW lagged rivals’ SUV lineups for years.
VW expects the proportion of SUV sales to rise to 40 percent by 2020.
"Our model mix is improving and we’ve been successful with our pricing," Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter told Bloomberg TV in an interview.
The second half will be "potentially difficult" in a “weaker market environment,” he said.
VW remains on track to generate at least 9 billion euros in cash this year after first-half results offer "a stable basis," Witter said.