FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2015 file photo the VW sign of Germany's car company Volkswagen is displayed at the building of a company's retailer in, Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)
INTERNATIONAL – Volkswagen (VW), the core brand of Germany's largest carmaker Volkswagen Group, confirmed its business guidance for 2019 on Thursday and said it expected its annual turnover to increase by five percent.

VW's operating profit margin is expected to range between 4 percent and 5 percent in 2019 "despite the negative effects of additional costs for market launches and startup costs" in the fourth quarter.

The VW brand has "performed very well in the year to date in a challenging operating environment and remains on a profitable growth trajectory," said Arno Antlitz, chief financial officer of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.

The sales revenue of VW increased by 4.7 percent to 65.4 billion euros ($72.9 billion) in the first nine months of 2019, said the company. Operating profit before special items increased strongly by 35 percent to 3.2 billion euros in the first three quarters of 2019, since last year's profits had been "negatively impacted" by the introduction of the new exhaust emission testing standard WLTP (world harmonized light-duty vehicles test procedure). VW vehicle sales declined by 2.3 percent to around 4.5 million units delivered between January and September.

Despite the overall decrease in vehicle sales, VW recorded higher demand in particular for its SUV (sport utility vehicle) models.

VW gained additional market share around the world "despite the challenging macroeconomic environment" arising from the slowdown in the global economy as well as the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and international trade conflicts, the company stated.

Following the publication of the VW brand's quarterly results, the company's shares declined by over two percent and stood at the bottom of Germany's benchmark DAX stock index on Thursday afternoon local time.

XINHUA