VW said it sold 6.29 million vehicles, an increase of 1.1 percent from the 2008 figure and garnered 11.4 percent of the global market, up from 10.3 percent a year earlier.
The global market contracted meanwhile by more than six percent, the group said in a statement. It added that 2010 market share should be even stronger, as it works to
overtake Toyota by 2018 as the biggest carmaker in the world. Toyota has not yet posted results for 2009.
VW vice president Christian Klingler was quoted as warning however that 2010 would be "another challenging year."
"There are no signs of a sustained recovery on the global automotive market," Klingler said, though he added that two markets where VW has a strong presence should improve.
"Emerging markets such as China and Brazil will, however, show an upward trend," he said.
Among the German group's 10 brands, the VW nameplate reported a 7.8 percent increase to 3.95 million vehicles last year, while its high-end unit Audi posted separately a drop of 5.4 percent to 949,700.
That was nonetheless better than a fall of 10.4 percent by rival BMW, which said it had delivered 1.29 million cars owing to weaker consumer confidence and tighter credit markets.
VW benefited from car scrapping premiums worldwide in 2009, as buyers focused on smaller, less expensive autos to make the most of state-subsidised windfalls.
In China, now VW's biggest market, sales soared by 36.7 percent to 1.4 million units, while the broader Asia/Pacific region posted a gain of 32.1 percent to 1.55 million vehicles.
Makers of luxury cars said their results had begun to pick up towards the end of the year, and BMW sales chief Ian Robertson told reporters at the Detroit car show that sales were expected to rise in the "single-digit percentage range" in 2010. Audi exceeded its 2009 sales target and said it aimed to deliver more than one million autos this year.
On Friday, Daimler said its 2009 sales had dropped by 10.1 percent to almost 1.13 million Mercedes-Benz, Smart city cars and other vehicles.
Volkswagen preference shares showed a gain of 0.74 percent to €66.95 in late Frankfurt trading, while the DAX index of German blue-chips was 0.09 percent lower overall.