The higher than expected performance in the period is said to reflect improvements in the result of the Volkswagen Brand, which came in at €0.9 billion and attributed to the success of new model introductions, particularly the VW Tiguan, and a strong financial performance in the West European market. Optimised fixed costs also positively affected the result, according to the manufacturer.

The Group says it continues to anticipate that the operating return on sales will be between 6% and 7% in 2017.

The full interim results are to be published in early May.