The Volkswagen Group sold 10.217 million vehicles globally in 2014 and its profits before tax rose to €14.8 billion (£10.5bn), up a healthy 19% over 2013. The Group’s overall profit margins also rose to 7.3%, up from 5.9% in 2013.
Of the VW Group’s 12 brands, Porsche showed the greatest relative year-on-year progress, with sales up from 155,000 units to 187,000 units, including 59,363 sales of the new Macan. Porsche also sold 545 examples of the 918 Spyder.
Although Porsche’s sales revenue jumped 20% in 2014, its world-leading 2013 profit margin of 18% slipped back to 15.8%, probably caused by the investment in new models and the upcoming front-engined MSB platform.
The VW brand itself sold 6.119m cars globally, up 1.6% on 2013. Operating profits slipped by a significant 14.4%, however, which VW CEO Dr Martin Winterkorn blamed on the political crisis affecting the Russian market, as well as "volatile exchange rates and an uncertain global economy". The VW brand’s profit margin also slipped from 2.9% to 2.5%.
VW’s top seller was the Golf, with global sales of 1.011m units, a big leap over 2013’s 824,629 units.
The next best seller was the Jetta (know as the Sagitar in China), which shifted 926,277 units, followed by the Polo (753,754) and Passat (747,583). VW also sold 4061 Phaetons and 106 of the super-eco XL1.
Skoda broke through the 1 million sales barrier, shifting 1,049,682 cars, with the Octavia leading with 397,433 sales. Skoda’s profit margin rose from 5.1% to 7%, making it one of the world’s more profitable mass-market carmakers.
Seat remains in the red, even though 2014 sales rose by 10% to 394,860, much of which was accounted for by Leon sales rising from 114,000 to 157,087. The brand’s 2013 losses of €151m (£107m) were shaved back, but remained at €127m (£89.8m).
VW’s British brand Bentley came storming back from its recessionary lows to sell 11,033 cars in 2014. This included 4556 sales of the Flying Spur and 3442 sales of the Continental GT. Operating profits edged up to £170m, although the profit margin slipped slightly to 9.7%.
As Autocar reported earlier this week, Audi had a good year, with sales up to 1.744m from 1.578m in 2013, a rise of 10.1%. However, heavy investment in new models such as the upcoming A4 and the new MLB platform helped push profit margins down from 10.1 to 9.6 per cent.
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