After-tax profit rose to 3.98 billion euros ($4.42 billion) as revenues rose 11% to 61.42 billion. The sales margin of 7.8% exceeded the goal of 6.5-7.5% as vehicles bringing higher profits took a larger share of sales.
The Wolfsburg-based automaker pointed to the headwinds facing the industry by saying that it expects "vehicle markets will contract faster than previously anticipated in many regions of the world." It said sales would be "on a level" with last year's record of 10.8 million vehicles. Previously it had expected a slight increase. The company said its profits would be in the lower end of its forecast range.
Global automakers are facing a slowdown in sales amid disputes over trade and from pressure in the European Union and China to develop and sell low-emission vehicles that require heavy investment in new technology.
Ford and Renault have issued profit warnings in recent days, while Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars, lost money in the second quarter and is expected to outline a cost-cutting strategy for investors on Nov. 14.
Volkswagen is leading the push into electric vehicles in Europe by launching its ID.3 battery-powered compact car at prices it says will make zero local emission vehicles a mass phenomenon. The company was able to increase earnings in the quarter despite an 18% rise in spending on research and development.