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Business

VW has Rocky Start to 2005

German auto giant Volkswagen said on Tuesday that business got off to an unsatisfactory start in the first three months of the current year. Europe's leading car maker also promised to step up cost-cutting efforts after its flagship VW brand lost money for first time in a decade last year. "As in 2004, operating profit for the first quarter of 2005 will not be satisfactory," VW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder told the group's annual earnings news conference. "However, we are expecting an improvement in the course of the year because important, high-volume models will be available from the second quarter and second half of 2005." VW said it planned to launch "more than 20 new products and product variants" during the course of 2005 and that would enable the group to increase the number of worldwide deliveries this year. The muted outlook weighed on VW shares, which were showing a
loss of 2.28 percent at €36.49 in early afternoon trading in Frankfurt. (AFP)