The good result was driven in particular by demand for premium brands Porsche and Audi as well as the group’s financial services arm, Volkswagen said.

But the Chinese market was slightly weaker in the period, it said, without specifying.

In the same time last year, Volkswagen posted an operating loss of €1.49 billion, burdened by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. In 2019, that result stood at around €9 billion.

Along with rivals, Volkswagen has also been hit by a global shortage of crucial semiconductors, and Europe’s largest carmaker said it now expected the main impact of the bottleneck to occur in the second half of the year.

Reported automotive net cash flow is expected to reach around €10 billion in the first six months, according to preliminary figures, up from the €5.57 billion in 2019 and the negative €4.8 billion last year.

Volkswagen is scheduled to publish its full second-quarter results on July 29.