Vehicle sales declined for the group by around 600,000 units in 2021, which amounted to 2.4 million less units sold than in 2019. However, though sales volumes were down 6%, sales revenue increased by 12% in 2021 to €250.1 billion.

Battery-electric vehicle sales for Volkswagen Group almost doubled in 2021, reaching 451,900 units sold and making the group the market leader in Europe with a share of around 25%, taking second place in the U.S. with 7.5% of the market.

Operating profit before special items almost doubled compared with 2020, reaching €20 billion. The operating return on sales before special items also climbed to 8% from 4.8% in the previous year. The company puts its financial performance in 2021 down to a better mix and favourable pricing.

The Automotive Division generated a net cash flow of €8.6 billion, an increase of 35.4% compared to the prior year, while net liquidity came in almost unchanged at €26.7 billion. However, the company reports that this corresponds to an increase of more than €5 billion since the end of 2019.

Going forward, Volkswagen Group anticipates that growth will continue despite challenging market conditions and uncertainty, and that deliveries to customers will be 5-10% up on 2021. This prediction is made with the assumption that there will not be a resurgence of Covid-19 and that shortages of components and commodities will ease off.

In this area, the company expects that the 2022 fiscal year will continue to be affected by shortfalls in supply due to the structural shortage of semiconductors, but that the supply of semiconductors is anticipated to improve in the second half of the year.

The Volkswagen Group expects sales revenue to be 8-13% higher than the prior-year figure, with an operating return on sales in the range of 7-8.5%.

At the time of reporting, the company acknowledges that there is a risk that developments in the war in Ukraine will have negative impacts on the business and its supply chains.

Arno Antlitz, Chief Financial Officer of the Volkswagen Group, said: “Over the past two years, we have learned to better mitigate the impact of crises on our company. I am confident that we will make the best possible use of these experiences to stay on track in these difficult times.

“In 2021, we enhanced our overall robustness by achieving better margins, reducing overhead costs, lowering our break-even and keeping capital expenditure discipline. Our rewards were solid results and cash flows. At the same time, we made no compromise when it comes to future investments and moved ahead in becoming a sustainable, software-driven mobility provider.”