Volkswagen AG has improved its outlook for the 2007, thanks to a strong first quarter.

Finance director Hans Dieter Pötsch said today that global deliveries to customers and turnover are expected to exceed 2006 levels, and confirmed an earlier statement that the operating result should also be higher than last year.

“We made a good start to 2007 and further improved our financial position,” said Pötsch. “The significant progress we have made in improving our competitiveness is positively reflected in our earnings.” At EUR1.1bn, the Volkswagen Group’s operating profit was up significantly year-on-year. Profit after tax more than doubled to EUR740m.

Most of the group’s brands contributed to the positive result. In the first three months of the year the Volkswagen brand recorded an operating profit of EUR386m, compared to a loss of EUR49m in the same period a year ago. Audi’s operating profit was up from EUR56m to EUR401m. Skoda was up from EUR29m to EUR172m. Seat’s figures improved significantly but the brand still recorded a loss of EUR11m.

Bentley’s operating result rose from EUR5m to EUR38m, while VW Commercial Vehicles increased its operating profit from EUR51m to EUR66m.

Volkswagen presented its quarterly results for the group on 18th April. Group profit surged almost 60%.

For 2008 Volkswagen Volkswagen is forecasting a pre-tax profit of EUR5.1bn.