Despite the massive losses of early 2008 at GM and Chrysler, other firms, like Maserati and Ferrari are doing quite well - as is Volkswagen. The Volkswagen group's Volkswagen brand generated a $718 million profit in the first quarter, despite essentially unchanged revenues compared to last year.

The boost comes from reducing costs, yielding an increase in margin from 2.14% to 2.55%, reports Automotive News. Revenues still checked in at $28.1 billion, the same as last year's Q1 takings. Still, the group's earnings as a whole only met analysts expectations, rather than exceeding them.

The VW Group's outlook for the year remains strong, however, despite a slumping global economy and turbulent times at some of its brands.

The VW Group's SEAT brand has been struggling, posting a $17 million loss last year, but turning that around to a $18.5 million profit in Q1. Skoda likewise increased profit, growing 5.8% to $282 million, but lost overall profitability per dollar earned.

VW expects sales to increase through 2008, bringing more revenue and profit as the year unfolds.