FRANKFURT – Global vehicle deliveries of Volkswagen's core VW brand increased by 6.3 percent to 456,200 in April, pushing up four-month sales by 9.4 percent to 1.66 million.
Strong demand in China, the United States and Russia helped to offset a decline in western Europe, where austerity measures in countries such as Italy and Spain are keeping buyers out of showrooms.
"Volkswagen passenger cars brand made a very good start to the second quarter. However, given the situation in west European markets, we remain very vigilant," Christian Klingler, VW board member for sales and marketing, said in a statement on Tuesday.
VW did not issue April sales numbers for individual markets.
The automaker said four-month VW brand deliveries in western Europe, excluding Germany, dropped 5.1 percent to 303,400. In VW's German home market, where the economy is buoyant, sales were up 4.7 percent to 202,400. Overall European sales for the brand rose 4 percent to 589,800.
In China, the automaker's biggest single market, VW brand deliveries increased 13 percent to 653,300. In the United States, sales were up 38 percent to 131,900, helped in part by local production of the new Passat model. Sales in Russia doubled to 50,000. South American sales were flat, rising just 0.6 percent to 246,300.
Volkswagen is due to release sales for all its group brands, including Audi, Skoda, Seat and Bentley, on May 11
VW Group aims to pass General Motors Co. to become the world's best-selling automaker by 2018. In 2011, VW sold 8.27 million units, behind GM with 9.05 million and ahead of No. 3 Toyota with 7.95 million.