Frankfurt — Volkswagen (VW) has reported a smaller-than-expected 18.6% drop in third-quarter adjusted operating profit, boosting its shares despite weaker vehicle sales tied to the introduction of more stringent anti-pollution rules. The car maker’s adjusted operating profit came to €3.51bn in the three months until end-September, better than the €3.2bn predicted in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages. It affirmed on Tuesday that its target for 2018 operating return on sales before special items at both the group and its passenger cars business area of 6.5% to 7.5%. Including special items, such as an €800m fine against VW’s premium brand Audi, the adjusted operating margin will fall moderately short of the expected range, it said. “The fact that VW does not have to change its forecast makes it look more robust than most of its competitors, namely Daimler and BMW; it demonstrates VW’s talents in both the product and the cost side,” Metzler analyst Jürgen Pieper said.

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