Volkswagen said it had got off to a successful start in 2021 despite the global shortage of semiconductors and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales revenue in the first quarter grew by 5.4% to EUR20bn.

Following the pandemic-related drop to EUR481m in the previous year, operating profit increased sharply to EUR900m to almost the level of the pre-crisis year 2019.

Pperating return on sales likewise rose sharply to 4.5% (2.5%). CEO Ralf Brandstaetter said: “We’ve managed to carry over the momentum from the second half of 2020 into the new year – despite the continuing challenges posed by the pandemic and the global shortage of semiconductors.”

In the first three months of the year, the brand almost doubled deliveries of BEVs to 30,700 units year-on-year (+95%) The increase for plug-in hybrids was larger: 31,850 units, 227% more vehicles compared with the same quarter of 2020.

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By GlobalData

Volkswagen delivered 1.36m vehicles to customers worldwide in the first quarter, an increase of 25% over the prior-year period. The recovery in China made a particularly strong contribution to that, with deliveries there increasing by 61%. The brand's global market share rose by a total of 0.3% to 7.4%.

Outlook for 2021 confirmed

The Volkswagen brand is confirming its forecast for the current fiscal year after the first three months – depending on further development of the coronavirus pandemic and the semiconductor shortage. The brand anticipates a significant year-on-year increase in deliveries and sales revenue in 2021 and, despite the fact that the general economic conditions are growing tougher, still aims to post an operating return on sales between 3% and 4%.