Volkswagen has announced an 18.6 per cent increase in 2001 pre-tax profits over the previous year, which was in line with expectations, The Financial Times (FT) reported.

The FT said that VW’s pre-tax profit for the full year rose from 3.72 billion euros in 2000 to E4.41 billion ($3.84 billion) in 2001. Sales increased 6.5 percent to E88.54 billion.

Analysts told the FT that the figures suggested a slowing during the last three months of 2001.

VW was also hit by the crisis in Argentina and a two-week strike at a plant in Brazil last year, the newspaper added.