BERLIN -- Volkswagen increased group sales 7.8 percent in May as sturdy demand from China, the United States and eastern Europe offset an accelerating drop in VW's core western European markets.
Deliveries of passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles and commercial vans across VW's automotive group totaled 763,800 last month compared with 708,800 a year earlier, the company said on Thursday.
Five-month auto sales at the group, which includes luxury brand Audi and Czech division Skoda, shrank 6.4 percent to 825,800 in western Europe, excluding Germany. That compares with a decline of 5.9 percent after four months and 4.7 percent in the first quarter.
In Germany, sales rose 4 percent to 493,900.
"Despite the generally positive trend, we continue to focus very closely on the growing uncertainties in the euro zone," sales chief Christian Klingler was quoted as saying in a statement.
Poor western European sales were offset by strong growth in the group's biggest single market China, which rose 17.5 percent to 1.08 million. In the United States, the automaker's sales grew 30.1 percent to 224,100 in the first five months. In central and eastern Europe, deliveries rose 29.8 percent to 262,600.
VW, which surpassed Toyota as the world's second-biggest carmaker last year, wants to clinch the top spot no later than 2018. The manufacturer is targeting 10 million auto sales that year.
Last year, the VW Group sold 8.27 million vehicles, behind General Motors with 9.05 million and ahead of Toyota with 7.95 million.
VW reported an 8.4 percent gain in five-month global sales to 3.65 million vehicles.
Sources: Reuters and Automotive News Europe