FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group's global vehicle sales rose by 18.9 percent in August as growth in China and the United States continued to help offset sliding sales in western Europe.
VW said deliveries for its brands, which now include the newly integrated Porsche sports car marque, increased to 719,500 in August from the year before. This raises the eight-month total by 10.2 percent to 5.91 million.
"We are satisfied with the Group's continued good performance. While developments in America, eastern Europe and Asia remain stable, we are monitoring the continued tense situation, particularly in western Europe, very closely," VW Group sales chief Christian Klingler said in a statement on Friday.
While Volkswagen Group reported growth in most regions, sales in western Europe fell as low consumer confidence caused by the region's debt problems kept customers out of showrooms.
Sales in China, VW's largest single market, rose 17.9 percent to 1.70 million in the first eight months while sales in the United States were up 33.3 percent to 380,000.
In western Europe, excluding Germany, VW's volume fell 5.8 percent to 1.25 million. In Germany, deliveries increased 4.1 percent to 792,300.
In the group's overall European market, sales rose slightly by 1.7 percent to 2.47 million. Growth was particularly strong in central and Eastern Europe, where deliveries rose 25.2 percent to 426,900. In Russia, the single-biggest market in the region, sales rose 53.4 percent to 206,900.
VW does not release monthly sales by market.
Porsche joins VW Group
All the VW Group's brands increased sales in the first eight months, except its Spanish unit Seat.
Audi sales lead growth with a rise of 12.7 percent to 961,000 through August, followed by the core VW brand which increased sales by 11.5 percent to 3.72 million.
Deliveries at Czech unit Skoda rose 8.5 percent to 633,300, while Seat's sales fell 11.0 percent to 210,200 as the brand continued to be hit by poor economic conditions in its key southern European markets.
The Porsche marque, which Volkswagen added to its brand portfolio last month, sold 10,900 in August, VW said.
VW Group intends to challenge General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. for the position of No. 1 global automaker by unit sales, a goal the automaker aims to achieve by 2018. VW is targeting 10 million auto sales that year.
In 2011, VW Group sold 8.27 million units, behind GM with 9.05 million and ahead of Toyota with 7.95 million.