Volkswagen AG (OTC: VLKAY) has recovered from “Dieselgate” as fast as the American Republican Party recovered from the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

VW’s sales rose by 4.3% to 10.74 million units in 2017, The Financial Times reported. That means Volkswagen is probably still the world’s largest carmaker by volume but not revenue.

The German giant sold 10.31 million vehicles in 2016 putting it safely in the number spot for vehicle sales, Statista data indicates. The number two auto maker by volume was Toyota (NYSE: TM) with 10.18 million vehicles sold, that was followed by General Motors (NYSE: GM) which sold 9.97 million vehicles in 2016, and Renault-Nissan which sold 9.96 million vehicles.

Toyota made more money with vehicle sales in 2016, it generated $249.90 billion (€200.92 billion) in revenues, Statista reported. Volkswagen Group was number two with $240.30 billion (€193.20 billion), Daimler (ETR: DAI) was number three with $169.50 billion (€136.28 billion), GM was fourth with $166.40 billion (€133.79 billion), and Ford (NYSE: F) was fifth with $151.80 billion (€122.05 billion) in revenues.

Is Volkswagen Making Money?

The revenue figures present a huge problem for Volkswagen; its vehicles are less profitable than those of Toyota and its biggest homegrown competitor (Daimler). VW is capable of expanding its sales but not increasing the money it makes from those sales.

There are some other worrying figures at Volkswagen Group, its’ net income was down by 51.16% and the profit margin was down by 53.9% during 3rd Quarter 2017. The operating income was also down by 48.01% in the same period. Even cash on hand was down by 33.01% in the same quarter.

Volkswagen still made a lot of money it reported a 5.78% increase in revenues for 3d quarter 2017, but the cost of revenue increased by 9.61% over 2016. It looks as if VW’s expenses are increasing but its capacity for making money is falling.

This means we might see a future in which Volkswagen is making a lot less money. Sales will keep growing, but the cost of generating more sales will keep going up. Although the company is still capable of raking in a lot of cash, it reported $44.35 billion (€33.66 billion) in cash and short-term investments and $15.63 billion (€12.53 billion) in cash on hand on September 30, 2017.

So yes, Volkswagen is making money but it is going to have a struggle to keep making money in the near future based on these figures. Simply raking up a lot of auto sales is no longer a license to make money.

Volkswagen Still has a Very Strong Brand

Volkswagen’s achievement is still tremendous, its sales grew by 8.5% during December 2017, The Financial Times reported.

The Volkswagen Group’s sales are up everywhere in China where they increased by 5.1%, in the USA where they grew by 5.8% and South America where the increase was 23.7%, The Financial Times noted. VW has become a truly global auto brand, and achieved global auto domination.

That is incredible because it occurred just two years after what was the greatest scandal in the history of the auto industry. Volkswagen’s brand has survived unscathed and might be stronger than ever.

A logical inference from these numbers is that most VW customers do not care about diesel gate. They still love the brand, or the subsidiaries Porsche, Bugatti, and Audi which bodes well for the future. Those brands will become even stronger because Volkswagen is at the forefront of new technologies.

Why Volkswagen may own Electric Vehicles

Strangely enough, the diesel scandal might make Volkswagen stronger because it is planning to bring out 50 electric models by 2025.

That will put it in an excellent position to compete in China, the world’s largest vehicle market. The Chinese government wants to eliminate internal combustion engine vehicles as soon as possible, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Volkswagen has even more ambitious electric plans including a scheme called Roadmap E. That plan includes spending €14 billion ($17.36 billion) on ridesharing technology; to counter GM and BMW’s efforts in that area, and €20 billion ($24.80 billion) on electric-vehicle technology.

That means Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) might not stand a chance. Volkswagen will own electric cars, and possibly ridesharing.

Therefore Volkswagen will be the world’s largest automaker for the foreseeable future – if the Roadmap E investments work as advertised. More importantly, Volkswagen will remain the value investment in global auto makers because of its vast industrial infrastructure, gigantic footprint, and willingness to invest in new technology.

With a share price of $45.54 in the US compared to Tesla’s $342.15 on 26 January 2018, Volkswagen might just be the best value investment in the auto industry. It is poised for more growth, even with less profitability.


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