Volkswagen net profit more than doubles in 2017

'Dieselgate' remains a challenge for VW

The world's largest carmaker Volkswagen said Friday it more than doubled net profits in 2017, with record sales helping it overcome headwinds including its long-running diesel scandal.

VW said in a statement it had booked an 11.4-billion-euro ($14 billion) bottom line last year, up from the 5.1 billion euros earned in 2016.

Record sales of some 10.74 million vehicles worldwide helped the group based in Wolfsburg, Germany to boost revenues 6.2 percent year-on-year, to 230.7 billion euros.

Operating, or underlying profits increased 94.5 percent to 13.8 billion euros, even after subtracting some 3.2 billion euros in one-off charges "related exclusively to charges... due to the diesel issue," the firm said.

VW admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide to fool regulators' emissions tests, and has since paid out more than 20 billion euros for buybacks, fines and compensation.

Despite last year's strong performance, "looking ahead, we -- like the entire industry -- are facing major challenges and radical change," chief executive Matthias Mueller said.

In the wake of the diesel scandal, VW has promised deep reforms across its sprawling 12-brand empire, which ranges from Lamborghini, Audi and Porsche to Skoda, Seat and its own branded cars.

Like other German carmakers, it plans a slew of new electric and hybrid models over the coming years.

"Shaping the Group's transformation will not only require a great deal of time and energy; it will also be very expensive. This is why we must continue to keep our expenditure under tight control," finance director Frank Witter said.

Looking ahead to 2018, the group aims to increase revenue by "as much as 5.0 percent" compared with last year.

It will also target an operating profit margin before special items of between 6.5 and 7.5 percent, compared with 7.4 percent last year.