Volkswagen has reported pre-tax profits of 4.4 billion euros (£2.7 billion; $US3.9 billion) for 2001, up 18.6 percent on 2000, and added that it expects this year’s figure would be much the same – subject to the performance of the US and German car markets.

Sales of the company’s Golf, a key model in the range that dates from 1998, were off 7.5 percent in 2001 but a new model is due in 2003.