German car giant Volkswagen has unveiled a sweeping restructuring plan that would affect up to 20,000 workers over three years, even though profits soared last year thanks to previous cost-cutting efforts.

A company spokesman declined to elaborate further and refused to say exactly how many jobs might be on the line as part of the shake-up.

But the measures would include 'elimination of productivity deficits, particularly in the car assembly plant,' VW said. The components manufacturing business would be reorganised, labour costs cut and capacity utilisation would be boosted, it said.

VW also published preliminary 2005 results, which showed that previous cost-cutting measures had helped boost profits last year by 61.5% to €1.1 billion. Car sales were up 3.2% .