Volkswagen brand leaves behind emissions scandal, lifts profit targets

Key Points
  • A margin target for 2020 has almost been reached three years early
  • The company says sales of SUV's in China are soaring
  • A recovery is Latin America is also helping the company's own brand line
2020 will be a crucial year for the autos industry, says VW's Diess

Volkswagen has raised the profit target on its VW-branded vehicles for 2020, after the car manufacturer almost hit the goal nearly three years ahead of schedule.

Volkswagen said Thursday that its namesake brand will exceed its 2017 margin target of 2.5 to 3.5 percent. This result is remarkable, considering the hugely disruptive diesel scandal in 2015.

The 2020 margin target for the Volkswagen brand has now been lifted to sit between 4 and 5 percent.

The VW brand, which makes up about half of sales for the 12-brand Volkswagen Group, has also recorded strong sales across 2017.

VW's Brand CEO Herbert Diess said Thursday that a new SUV launch in the U.S., a recovery in Latin America and reduced costs in Europe were helping the firm.

"Basically, we are one year ahead in our turnaround program and that gives us confidence," he said.

New competitors will be 'challenging' for autos industry, says VW's Diess

Diess issued some caution for Volkswagen's future, however. He said there was currently a window of opportunity for big tech companies to enter the auto sector.

"We see that from the west coast of the United States and also many new investments from China — it is still hugely expensive. It takes a lot of money to become car manufacturer but it can be done now," he said.