Volkswagen sales hit record amid China boom
German auto giant Volkswagen said on Friday that it made record sales of more than four million vehicles in the first half of the year, helped by booming sales to China – and it expected to do better than the market overall in the second half.
VW, the biggest European carmaker, said that global group sales from January to the end of June gained 14.1 percent from the same period in 2010 to 4.09 million units, beating the overall sector increase of 6.1 percent.
"We are also confident we can perform better than the global automobile market during the second half of the year, thanks to our very convincing range of models," sales director Christian Klingler said in a statement.
In addition to the VW brand, the group owns automakers like Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda.
In China alone, now the group’s most important growth market, the VW group sold more than 1.1 million vehicles since the start of January, a jump of 16.4 percent.
The group’s China boss Karl-Thomas Neumann has set his sights on breaking the 2 million barrier for the year, though industry experts believe demand for cars may cool.
A breakdown of the figures showed that in North America, VW group sales grew by 21.2 percent to 319,100 vehicles, while South American sales were 10.9 percent higher at 455,200 vehicles.
In the Asia/Pacific region overall, 1.26 million cars were sold for a gain of 19.5 percent on the year.
Earlier this week, VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn announced that sales of VW-brand vehicles alone rose 11.8 percent to a record 2.5 million for the first half of 2011. Globally, sales of VW brand autos remained predominant, followed by the high-end Audi brand, which reported deliveries of 653,000 vehicles.
Growth of VW sales was especially strong in central and eastern Europe, while Audi saw the most growth in South America and the Asia/Pacific region.