FRANKFURT – Volkswagen Group increased vehicle sales in July sharply and said it remained on track for further growth, signaling that economic weakness has so far not had a material impact on its business.
The group's retail sales for all brands, including the premium marque Audi and Skoda and Seat volume brands, rose 16.3 percent in July to 665,600 vehicles.
This was a faster rate of increase than the 14.4 percent jump in the first seven months, and the 5.5 percent gain recorded by global auto markets overall.
"The Volkswagen Group is maintaining its growth trajectory with its strong model range," group head of sales Christian Klingler said in a statement on Friday.
The group's seven-month retail sales rose to 4.75 million in the first seven months, with Audi and Skoda leading the way, both helped by China's expanding market.
Audi sales grew 17.4 percent to 758,900 during January to July. Skoda sales were up 19.7 percent to 523,200.
VW brand sales increased by 12.5 percent to 2.95 million, while Seat sales grew 1.9 percent 215,500.
VW Group is enjoying strong growth in key markets. China sales were up 16.4 percent to 1.29 million in the first seven months. U.S. sales increased 20.5 percent to 249,500.
In Europe, sales grew 10.2 percent to 2.2 million. Growth was slower in Western Europe. Sales in the region, excluding Germany, rose 5.6 percent to 1.22 million.
Despite worsening economic conditions in Germany, sales rose 11.9 percent to 678,400. With Germany's largest economy dangerously close to contraction, VW may be set for tougher times ahead. Roughly every third car sold in Germany stems from a brand offered by VW.
The group's seven-month growth puts VW strongly on the path to challenge Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. among the top-ranked automakers. VW aims to become the world's best-selling automaker by 2018.
In 2010, VW group sold 7.14 million units, behind Toyota with 8.42 million and GM with 8.39 million.
Shares in Volkswagen have had a rough time in recent weeks on the back of widespread selling in cyclical stocks as fears of a double-dip recession in developed economies took hold among investors.
Reuters contributed to this report