Volkswagen group set a new unit-sales record in 2008.
Europe's largest automaker sold 6.23 million vehicles, an increase of 0.6 percent compared with 2007. The news comes as most of its rivals are reporting big declines in their 2008 global sales.
"We have kept our promise," VW group CEO Martin Winterkorn said at the Detroit auto show on Sunday. "The Volkswagen group delivered more vehicles than ever before in the difficult year. The results show that our group's multibrand strategy is paying off and our model range is popular with customers all over the world."
Germany, China and Brazil were the largest single markets for the Volkswagen group, which includes the brands Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
VW gained ground in its top three markets last year:
-- Sales in Germany rose 0.4 percent to 1.06 million cars.
-- In China, unit sales increased 12.5 percent to a record 1.02 million. It is the first time the automaker's annual sales have surpassed 1 million in China.
-- Customers in Brazil bought 633,300 units, an increase of 8.9 percent compared with 2007.
Despite the positive finish to 2008, VW has warned that its worldwide sales could fall by about 10 percent this year as a result of the global economic slowdown, which is expected to cause a steep decline in new-car sales around the world.
-- Reuters contributed