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Volkswagen Q2 operating profit seen slightly higher

Volkswagen, the world's fourth-largest carmaker, is expected to report a slight rise in Q2 earnings and reaffirm its guidance for an unspecified improvement in results this year.

A Reuters poll of 20 analysts forecast operating profit to rise 4.4% on average to €1.81 billion in the quarter from its strong performance a year ago, putting it on track for an estimated €6.61 billion for the full year.

Its operating margin is seen at 6.3%, according to the poll.

Despite high oil prices, falling US consumer confidence, and a strong euro, Volkswagen should stick to its target of a rise in vehicle sales, revenue and operating profit in 2008.

Volkswagen is due to launch the sixth generation of its flagship Golf late this year, and plans to roll out more than 20 new models by the end of the decade as it targets 8 million vehicles delivered in 2011.

As VW sets its sights on overtaking Toyota as the world's biggest and most profitable carmaker, large shareholder Porsche is poised to raise its 31% voting stake to a controlling majority once all regulatory approval has been granted.

Earlier on Wednesday, French rival PSA reported a first-half operating margin of 3.6% helped by cost cuts and maintained a target for 3.5% over the full year.

Italy's Fiat is also due to report on Wednesday, and Renault on Thursday. (Reuters)