The extent of the Covid-19 pandemic‘s effect on businesses continues to manifest itself in numbers, as the Volkswagen Group has weathered substantial impact in the first three months of the year, the automakers stated. Customer vehicle deliveries dropped by 23% compared to the same period last year, down from 2.6 million units to 2.0 million units.

Sales revenue dropped 8.3% to 55.1 billion euros from 60 billion euros as a result, and operating profit has shrunk 81.4% to 900 million euros from 4.8 billion euros in the same time last year. The group is expecting its operating profit for 2020 to be ‘severely below’ 2019, however it still expects to record positive profit.

In mid-March, the German automaker gradually reduced manufacturing operations in Europe due to significant deterioration in sales and uncertainty over plants’ supplies, and customer deliveries for this year were expected to fall significantly short of its achievement in 2019, in addition to growing competition, market volatility and new emissions regulations as the pandemic winds down.

The German automaker group noted that the sales of certain models such as the Passat, T-Cross, Audi e-tron and the Skoda Scala performed consistently well in this period, though it wasn’t enough to counteract the overall weakening demand, emissions-related expenses and fluctuating exchange rates, said Autocar.

Volkswagen eventually resumed production operations at its Zwickau plant from April 20, as well as its main Wolfsburg manufacturing facility this week, while production facilities in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico will resume manufacturing sometime in May. The first car to roll of the line since resumption was a Golf, and the factory currently runs on one shift.

“The global Covid-19 pandemic substantially impacted our business in the first quarter. We’ve taken numerous countermeasures to cut costs and ensure liquidity and we continue to be robustly positioned financially. The gradual restart, also of our factories outside of China, has begun. The health of our employees and suppliers remains the clear priority here,” said chief financial officer Frank Witter.

Dealers in Germany have reopened since last week, Witter said, thus the company has taken the initial steps to resume business operations, he added.