HANOVER, Germany -- The commercial vehicles unit of auto giant Volkswagen AG posted a sharp fall in 2002 operating profit on Friday as heavy spending in overhauling its product range combined with weak demand.
The unit, which accounts for under five percent of revenues at Europe's biggest carmaker, posted an operating profit of 164 million euros ($180.6 million), down 45.5 percent.
The unit, which makes light trucks, said revenues dipped 5.5 percent to 4.5 billion euros and unit sales fell 14.2 percent to 236,500 vehicles.
Bernd Wiedemann, the unit's head, declined to make a forecast for the current year given the uncertainty in the global economy, but said the heavy investment program would form the basis for profitable growth.
Demand for commercial vehicles overall is expected to fall again in Europe this year, reflecting weak economic conditions.
DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes vans unit, the market leader in Europe, posted slightly lower unit sales last year.