Volkswagen Group on Monday reported record results for full year 2011 – sales revenue up 25.6% to EUR159.3bn, operating profit up EUR4.1bn to EUR11.3bn and operating margin up from 5.6% to 7.1%.

“Volume, mix and price effects were the strongest drivers (EUR5.9bn) while product cost savings of EUR1.1bn had a positive effect,” the automaker said in a statement.

The negative effect of EUR2.6bn from fixed costs and depreciation and amortisation expense was due mainly to the group’s growth and to development costs related to the expansion of the product line – last year’s launches included the Up entry level line and a new Beeetle.

Operating profit share of the Chinese joint ventures rose EUR5.8bn to EUR7.7bn last year.

Pretax profit last year rose by around EUR10bn to EUR18.9bn and the after-tax profit of EUR15.8bn (up from EUR7.2bn) was also a record.

Dividends of EUR3.00-3.06 will be paid to shareholders, compared with EUR2.20-26 in 2010.

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VW noted that its automtoive return on investment “increased significantly” last year to 17.7% from 13.5% “which is both considerably higher than in the previous year and above the company’s own 9% minimum required rate of return.”

“The figures impressively demonstrate that we have systematically increased our operating profitability while maintaining our investment discipline”, said CFO Hans Dieter Pötsch. “We will continue to invest in our forward-looking product portfolio with prudence and appropriate cost discipline.”

Group deliveries climbed 14.7% to 8.3m and its share of the global passenger car market rose from 11.3% to 12.3%.

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand delivered 5.1m cars, up 13.1%, while operating profit rose 74.7% to EUR3.8bn.

Audi delivered 1.3m vehicles (1.1m) and operating profit climbed 60.1% to a record EUR5.3bn.

Škoda deliveries increased 15.3% to 879,000 vehicles thanks to growth in Russia, India and China and operating profit was up 66.1% to EUR743m.

Struggling Seat “continued to make progress in 2011”, VW said. Deliveries inched up 3.1% to 350,000 vehicles and the operating loss was reduced considerably by EUR86m to EUR225m thanks to the improved sales and “optimised materials costs”.

Bentley deliveries rose 36.9% to 7,003 vehicles and the British brand was back in the black with an operating profit of EUR8m (operating loss EUR245m in 2010).

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles deliveries increased 21.4% to 529,000 units and operating profit improved by EUR217m to EUR449m.

Scania increased deliveries 25.7% to 80,100 trucks and buses (63,700). Operating profit rose 2.3% to EUR1.4bn.

MAN, the commercial vehicle, engines and mechanical engineering unit, delivered 24,750 trucks and buses in the period from November to December and generated an operating profit of EUR193m. Volkswagen held 59.58% of the company’s voting rights and 57.33% of its share capital on 31 December.

Volkswagen Financial Services generated an operating profit of EUR1.2bn in 2011, up from EUR932m the previous year.

Chairman Martin Winterkorn said at the results presentation: “The volume goal of 10m vehicles is in sight, the group’s global market share has risen by 2.7% since 2007 and its return on sales before tax has climbed from 6.0% in 2007 to 11.9% last year. Without the nonrecurring effect from the remeasurement of the put/call options relating to Porsche Zwischenholding, the figure for 2011 would be 7.8%. The long-term target is to achieve a return on sales of at least 8%.”

The group is cautiously optimistic for 2012 – despite all the economic uncertainties, he added. Global deliveries rose 7.7% to about 1.3m vehicles in the first two months.

The group will also be able to approach the coming months with confidence, Winterkorn said.

“Above all, because this year, we will again be launching more than 40 additional new models, successors and product enhancements.” These include major new vehicles such as the Audi A3 and Golf.

“As a result, we expect to increase deliveries to customers year-on-year,” Winterkorn said.

The year would be dominated by the start of production for new, high-volume models as part of the product range renewal and the need to convert plant and equipment to use with the ‘modular transverse toolkit” platform.

The group expects 2012 sales revenue above 2011’s partly due to the consolidation of MAN SE from 9 November though the earnings contribution will be limited because of the write-downs that will be required for purchase price allocation.

“The goal for operating profit is to match the 2011 level,” VW said.

“Positive effects from the attractive model range and strong competitive position will be offset in part by increasingly stiff competition in a challenging market environment, especially in certain European countries. 

“Disciplined cost and investment management and the continuous optimisation of processes therefore remain core components of Volkswagen’s ‘Strategy 2018’.