WOLFSBURG, Germany: Volkswagen, Europe's largest carmaker - and world number four after GM, Toyota, Ford and Chrysler - bettered the moneymen's expectations with a sparkling 52% increase in 2006 full year operating profit, rising to €4.38 billion ($5.76bn; £2.94bn) before a one-off charge and a number of special items.

The year-end bottom line was notably depleted by the once-only net charge of €2.37bn, related to restructuring expenses in VW's Automotive Division.

Nonetheless, group profit before tax from continuing activities rose 10.6% to €1.79bn, while revenues increased 11.6% to €104.9bn.

Promised new ceo Martin Winterkorn: "We will continue to vigorously drive forward the activities to improve cost structures and processes in 2007. This, along with the steps we undertook in 2006, will lead to a sustainable improvement in our competitiveness."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff