May 3, 2017 / 10:11 PM / in 5 months

VW eyes productivity increases at core brand: executive in paper

German carmaker Volkswagen board member Herbert Diess attends the company's annual news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) wants to increase the productivity of its plants at its core brand to catch up with rivals, the head of the VW brand told a German newspaper.

“There’s no avoiding it, the plants have to become much more productive in the coming years because we are not making enough money with our cars at the moment,” Herbert Diess was quoted as saying by tne Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Thursday.

His comments came after first-quarter operating profit at VW’s largest division surged to 869 million euros ($948.9 million) from 73 million a year earlier.

Investors have said a turnaround at the VW brand, which has long been saddled with high fixed and R&D costs, is key to turning the German giant into a more attractive business.

“We need to catch up urgently,” Diess said, saying it was not easy to get the message across.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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