This was driven by a 4% decline in the Automotive division, which was offset by improvements in Volkswagen’s Financial Services division.

Overall deliveries had an improvement of 3.1% in the quarter to 2.1 million units, while vehicle sales declined by 2% to 2.08 million units. Production was down 0.3% to 2.27 million units and employees remained flat at 648,200.

Vehicle sales for the Core brand group fell slightly to 1.192 million units, while sales revenue for this group had a drop of 1.2% to €32.77 billion with an operating result up 21% to €2.11 billion with a margin of 6.4%.

The Progressive brand group saw vehicle sales decline by 24.8% to 243,000 units while sales revenue dropped 18.7% to €13.73 billion and the operating result was down 74.3% to €466 million with a margin of 3.4%.

Meanwhile, the Sport Luxury brand group’s deliveries fell by 16.5% to 71,000 with sales revenue declining by 12.7% to €8.14 billion and operating result down 30% to €1.2 billion with a margin of 14.8%.

The operating result for the quarter was €4.59 billion, a decline of 20.2%, while the operating return on sales came in at 6.1%. Volkswagen Group’s earnings after tax declined by 21.6% to €3.71 billion.

Looking forward, the company expects sales revenue for the full year to grow by 5% year-on-year, with an operating return on sales between 7-7.5%.

CFO and COO Arno Antlitz said: “As expected, our first quarter results show a slow start to the year. We remain confident of achieving our financial targets for 2024. A strong March, the solid order bank and the improving order intake in the past months are encouraging and should already have a positive impact in the second quarter.

“We expect additional momentum over the course of the year from the launch of more than 30 new models across all brands. At the same time the effects our efficiency programs will gradually unfold as the year progresses. In this context, it will be particularly important to vigorously counteract the increase in fixed costs and exercise investment discipline.”