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Volkswagen profit up 19 pct on cost-cutting, Europe recovery

German automaker Volkswagen said first-quarter profit rose 19 percent from a year ago as cost-cutting improved profit margins at its namesake brand and as European car sales showed a modest recovery. Net profit rose to 2.93 billion euros ($3.23 billion) in the January-March period, from 2.47 billion euros in the same quarter a year ago. Volkswagen AG said Wednesday that its efforts to reduce costs had saved more than 100 million euros in the quarter — a figure "in the low triple-digit millions," as the news release put it — at the mass-market Volkswagen brand. That lifted the profit margin to 2.0 percent from 1.8 percent. The Volkswagen brand was still hit by falling...