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Luxury brands lift Volkswagen Q3 profits

German auto giant Volkswagen appears headed for another record year, spurred on by booming Q3 business in China and big demand for its luxury cars. But its 2013 profit target remains ambitious, the group says.

The operating profit of Volkswagen Group (VW) rose by about 20 percent year-on-year in the third quarter to reach 2.77 billion euros ($3.8 billion), the German carmaker announced Wednesday.

The world's third largest auto manufacturer by sales, shipped 2.387 million cars to customers worldwide between July and September. Nevertheless, revenues in the period fell by 3.8 percent to 46.99 billion euros.

VW attributed the drop in revenues to difficult markets in Europe and unfavorable euro exchange rates on a global scale.

The strongest performers within the 12-brand car group were top-of-the-range subsidiaries Audi and Porsche.

Sports car maker Porsche, for example, contributed an operating profit of 1.89 billion euros to VW group profits so far this year - a massive increase from last year's 387 million euros.

Growth market China

Volkswagen's main growth market remains China, which contributed 3.5 billion euros to group earnings in the first nine months of 2013. Last year, the figure stood at 2.8 billion for the period.

In its race to become the world's best-selling carmaker by 2018, VW inaugurated its 16th factory in the Asian country in October.

The group's China drive caused VW sales total to surge past 7 million units by the end of September, further narrowing the gaps to market leaders Toyota and General Motors.

Therefore, VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn maintained the group's full-year target of reaching an underlying profit of 11.5 billion euros. Thanks to VW's outstanding model range and broad global presence, he said he expected a solid year despite a difficult economic environment.

uhe/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)