Steane Klose | Apr 24, 2009

With Volkswagen duking it out with Toyota for the title of world's largest automotive manufacturer, you'd have to think things are all roses for the German marque.

However, a 74 percent drop in profits for the first quarter of this year might just take some spring out of Volkswagen's step. Of course, it's the same story for just about every manufacturer right now as the global economy continues to tank.

While a 74 percent profit decline is a headache for any company, finishing 'in the black' with any profit on the ledger is more than many other manufacturers can manage in this climate.

According to the New York Times, VW profits for Q1 ticked over AUD $445 million (€243 million). Those numbers, you'd reckon are not to be sneezed at until you consider that VW managed AUD $1.7 billion (€929million) for the same period last year.

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The AUD$834 million (€456 million) sale of a commercial vehicle business in Brazil was a key factor allowing VW to finish the quarter in the black.

Revenue was also down, dropping 11 percent despite sales growth in Poland, China, Russia, Brazil, and homeland Germany.

It's a good result in a shocking for Volkswagen, with an increase in global market share seeing VW climb from 9.7 percent to 11 percent.

The tough times look set to continue for some time to come, but Volkswagen is weathering the storm better than nearly any you care to name.

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