FRANKFURT – Volkswagen AG's global first-quarter deliveries rose by 13.7 percent to a record 1.97 million vehicles, the automaker said Friday. VW also reported record deliveries for March, with sales of more than 767,200 cars, up 8.1 percent from a year ago.
VW aims to pass Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's best-selling automaker by 2018. In 2010, VW group sold a record 7.14 million units, ranking it third behind General Motors Co. with 8.39 million and Toyota with 8.42 million.
"Developments in the first quarter were excellent. Growth regions such as China, India or Russia again produced a strong performance. And delivery figures for our innovative and young model range remained high in the mature markets in western Europe and North America as well," VW Group sales and marketing boss Christian Klingler said in a statement.
First-quarter sales in China were the strongest, with VW Group reporting deliveries of 548,500 cars, a 19.9 percent increase over the previous year.
The company's sales also rose sharply in India, where deliveries increased to 28,100 units in the first three months of the year, a rise of 256.7 percent.
VW's central and eastern European sales rose 30.7 percent to 109,200 units, while in western Europe (excluding Germany), sales increased 6.6 percent in the first three months of the year to 532,000 deliveries.
In Germany itself, the group lifted sales 5 percent to 267,300 cars. In North America, the VW group grew deliveries to 143,900 vehicles, a 17.9 percent rise on 2010 figures.
VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda report strong Q1 gains
The company's core VW brand sold 1.23 million cars between January and March, a rise of 10.4 percent, while its luxury brand, Audi, boosted global deliveries by 18.4 percent in the same period to 312, 600 units.
Audi benefited from a sales surge in China, where its volume rose 24.6 percent to 64,100 units in the first quarter. Audi also saw U.S. sales rise to 25,400, up 19.1 percent from Q1 2010.
VW's Czech brand Skoda sold 217,100 cars in the first three months of the year, a rise of 21.4 percent over 2010 figures. Sales were strongest in central and eastern Europe for the brand, which delivered 51,300 cars and SUVs there in the first quarter, a 29.4 percent increase. Skoda also was boosted by strong demand in the Asia Pacific region, where it sold 63,500 units, a rise of 31.0 percent in year-on-year figures.
VW's Spanish brand, Seat, saw sales rise 2.8 percent in the first quarter to 90,800 units. Western Europe provided the strongest sales for the automaker, led by Germany, where Seat sold 12,600 cars, a rise of 24.5 percent.