VW Group losses mount after pandemic-induced fall in demand

The Volkswagen Group has detailed a crushing blow to its financial position, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in its first-half results.

The car-making giant published an operating loss of €800 million (£723m) for the January to June period. Although companies such as Renault have posted far greater losses, the VW Group’s figures compare with a €10 billion (£9.04bn) adjusted operating profit in the year-earlier period.

Vehicle deliveries fell year on year by more than 27%, down to 3.9m. Sales revenue decreased by 23.2% as a result. The group has slashed the dividend paid to shareholders by around a quarter to reflect the losses.

VW Group chief financial officer Frank Witter has called the first half of the year “one of the most challenging in the history of our company due to the Covid-19 pandemic”. However, a recovery is in progress with a “positive trend”, with Witter casting a “cautiously optimistic” look to the second half of the year.

Few makers have managed to navigate the pandemic without suffering losses. However, VW’s figures contrast with those of the PSA Group, which yesterday posted a profit in the first half of 2020.