UPDATE 1-VW won't confirm it weighing more cost cuts


(Recasts with VW comment)

FRANKFURT, June 16 (Reuters) - German car maker Volkswagen AG would not confirm a newspaper report on Wednesday that it was considering stepping up its two billion euro ($2.4 billion) cost-cutting plan because of domestic market weakness.

"I cannot confirm that," company spokesman Thomas Mickeleit said when asked about the Financial Times report, adding Volkswagen would never comment on its internal thought process even should any such plans exist.

Citing people close to the group, the FT said Europe's biggest car maker had not yet decided whether further cost cuts were needed but was drawing up plans for its board to consider.

VW has identified potential cost cuts of up to 2.2 billion euros as part of its ForMotion restructuring plan, which includes cutting 5,000 jobs outside the auto production area.

Volkswagen aims to maintain its operating profit before one-off factors at 2.5 billion euros this year despite a dismal first quarter in which pre-tax profit and net earnings both fell nearly 90 percent.

Traders and analysts have questioned whether VW can hit its targets given the weak economy in Germany, where overall new car registrations slumped 7.3 percent in May and have fallen 2.5 percent so far this year.

Volkswagen shares gained 1.2 percent to 35.50 euros by 0815 GMT while the DJ Stoxx auto index rose 0.7 percent.



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