Source AP ©

Skoda Auto's profit rises by 37.7 percent

The growing sales boosted the rise of Skoda Auto AS net profit. In first three quarters of 2007 it rose 37.7 percent.

Skoda's net profit in the January-September period reached 11.5 billion koruna (€424 million; US$607 million), the company said. Earnings for the same period in 2006 were 8.351 billion koruna (€308 million; US$441 million).

Skoda's sales rose 12.6 percent in the same period to reach 462,400 cars, compared with 410,700 a year earlier.

The most popular Skoda Auto model was Octavia - it sold 169,600 of the vehicles, the company said. The sales of Skoda Auto's new model, small mini van Roomster reached 47,183.

Skoda Auto's investment into new models and production innovations totaled 4.9 billion koruna (€181 million; US$259 million), up 34 percent from the January-September period in 2006, the car maker said.

"Our investments aimed primarily at innovation and expansion of our model lineup," said Holger Kintscher, a Skoda Auto board member in charge of economy.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggestcar maker, owns 100 percent of Skoda Auto.

Skoda Auto sold a record of 549,667 cars in more than 90 countries last year and aims to boost annual car output to 1 million in 2010 from some 600,000 planned for this year.