Volkswagen’s main profit driver – Audi – is suffering from stagnant earnings from slumping demand in its core European markets – where it sells half its cars.
Audi’s operating profit at Audi edged up just 0.6 percent last year to 5.38 billion euros, compared to a 60 percent surge in 2011.
Net profit fell two percent to 4.35 billion.
Chief Executive Rupert Stadler would not give a concrete profit forecast, merely saying that 2013 “will be at least as challenging as last year”.
Audi stood by its goal to beat last year’s record of 1.46 million vehicle sales. It also plans to hire around 1,500 people and offer 700 apprenticeships this year in Germany alone.
Parent VW, whose sales have held up better than rivals such as Peugeot in Europe, last month scaled back its forecast for another record year in 2013, saying the goal was now to match the record 11.5 billion euro operating profit for 2012.
Audi said it shouldered one billion euros in additional sales costs last year, indicating greater efforts by the luxury manufacturer to use discounts when launching models such as the new A3 compact and the A8 hybrid sedan.