Volkswagen lowers sales forecast as China demand drops

Volkswagen lowers its global sales forecast for 2015 citing weaker demand from China and other key markets

Berlin (AFP) – Volkswagen, which recently pipped Toyota for the world’s biggest automaker title, lowered its global sales forecast for 2015 Wednesday citing weaker demand from China and other key markets.

The group based in the northern German city of Wolfsburg with a stable of 12 brands said turnover would stagnate this year, revising an outlook for a “moderate” increase in customer deliveries.

“We are keeping a very close watch on global macroeconomic trends, especially where there are uncertainties such as in the Chinese, Brazilian and Russian markets,” chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.

Second-quarter sales dipped 2.7 percent to 2.55 million units, with foreign turnover seeing an even steeper decline of 3.8 percent.

During the first half, sales slipped 0.5 percent to 5.04 million units. 

Between April and June, net profit fell 16 percent to 2.67 billion euros ($2.95 billion), coming in slightly below the 2.9 billion euros forecast by financial services company FactSet.

Nevertheless, figures showed Tuesday that Toyota fell behind Volkswagen as the world’s biggest automaker as the German giant outsold its Japanese rival in the first half of the year.

Volkswagen shares lost 1.94 percent to 186.90 euros on the Frankfurt stock exchange in late morning trading Wednesday.

The company underwent a bitter power struggle earlier this year that led to supervisory board chief and patriarch Ferdinand Piech stepping down in April.  

One of the issues behind the rift between Piech and Winterkorn — who had been seen as Piech’s close ally and heir apparent — was the car maker’s difficulties in making substantial inroads into the US market and its over-dependence on the Chinese market. 

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