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Coronavirus sales slump plunges Volkswagen into loss

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Coronavirus sales slump plunges Volkswagen into loss

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 23, 2020 shows an employee wearing a face mask as he works on the assembling of a Volkswagen ID.3 electric car at the plant of German car maker Volkswagen (VW) in Zwickau, eastern Germany. - German carmaker Volkswagen on Thursday, July 30, 2020 reported a pre-tax loss of 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) for the first half of 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic sent sales plummeting. (Photo by Hendrik Schmidt / POOL / AFP)

Despite a 1.4-billion-euro loss in January-June 2020, Volkswagen still expects to end the year in 'positive territory'

German carmaker Volkswagen on Thursday, July 30, reported a pre-tax loss of 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) for the 1st half of 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic sent sales plummeting.

The sprawling group, which includes the Porsche, Audi, and Skoda brands, said revenues plunged 23% to 96.1 billion year-on-year as lockdowns halted production lines and closed showrooms.

The 1.4-billion-euro loss marks a steep decline from the 9.6 billion in pre-tax profits the group earned over the same period in 2019.

“The 1st half of 2020 was one of the most challenging in the history of our company due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said finance chief Frank Witter.

Volkswagen nevertheless expects to end the year in “positive territory” as many countries relaxed their restrictions during the 2nd quarter, allowing sales to gradually bounce back.

Overall, the group sold 3.9 million vehicles worldwide between January and June, 27% fewer compared with a year earlier. 

The biggest slump was recorded in April, at the height of the shutdowns, when sales plummeted 45%.

A recovery has since got underway, led by a pickup in western European markets, VW said.

“Due to the positive trend exhibited in our business over the past few weeks and the introduction of numerous attractive models, we look cautiously optimistic to the 2nd half of the year,” Witter said.

Volkswagen said it planned to cut its dividend for 2019 from 6.50 euros per ordinary share to 4.80 euros.

The Wolfsburg-based automaker will hold its annual shareholder meeting online on September 30. – Rappler.com