Volkswagen said the COVID-19 pandemic had “a substantial impact” on business in the first three months of the year.

Deliveries fell 23% year on year to 2m vehicles.

Revenue fell 8.3% to EUR55.1bn.

Operating profit plunged 81.4% to EUR0.9bn.

The group expects 2020 deliveries to be “significantly below the prior year” due to the virus.

Increasing competition, volatile commodity and foreign exchange and more stringent emissions related requirements are also challenging.

Revenue is also expected to be significantly below last year with operating profit “severely below the prior year” but remaining positive.

VW passenger cars sales fell 16% in the first quarter to 765,000.

Audi volume fell to 268,000 from 305,000.

Skoda sales were off 13.7% to 237,000 vehicles and Seat was down 20.6% to 140,000.

Even Porsche was not immune to virus effects though sales dropped just 1.3% to 56,000 in the first quarter.

VW group finance chief Frank Witter said: “We’ve taken numerous countermeasures to cut costs and ensure liquidity and we continue to be robustly positioned financially.”