MUNICH -- Volkswagen Group increased vehicle sales 8 percent in March, with gains in Europe and China offsetting declines in the United States and Brazil.
VW Group deliveries rose to 929,500 vehicles last month, the strongest monthly gain in group sales in more than a year.
First-quarter sales increased 6 percent to 2.4 million vehicles, marking a delivery record for the period.
"The positive momentum in the Asia-Pacific region continued, with China remaining the group's largest single market. Furthermore, there are signs of a return to modest growth on the markets in western Europe," VW sales chief Christian Klingler said today in a statement.
Daniel Schwarz, an analyst at Commerzbank, said: "Europe is decisive; if growth there stabilizes, then it's very good for VW. It's a good sign that VW's sales gains accelerated in March."
In western Europe excluding Germany, VW Group first-quarter sales rose 8 percent to 516,600. Sales in Germany were up 8 percent to 282,800.
In the United States, group deliveries for the quarter fell 7 percent to 133,500. In Brazil, sales declined by 20 percent to 127,700. China volume rose by 15 percent to 880,700.
The group’s Audi, Skoda and Seat brands recorded the highest percentage increases in the quarter. Audi’s volume rose by 12 percent to 412,800, Skoda sales were up by 12 percent to 247,200 and Seat’s deliveries increased by 7 percent to 93,400.
Sales at the core VW brand rose 4 percent to 1.48 million vehicles. Porsche deliveries were 38,700, up 5 percent.
No. 1 goal
Volkswagen intends to sell more than 10 million vehicles this year to reach a company target four years earlier than planned. In 2013, VW posted 9.73 million deliveries, including the MAN and Scania heavy-truck brands, as a boost in Chinese demand helped the company surpass sales at General Motors to become the world's second-biggest carmaker after Toyota.
The German manufacturer plans to introduce more than 100 models through 2015 to win more customers. The figures released today exclude the two truck units.
European car sales were up for a sixth straight month in March as a gradual economic recovery in Portugal, Spain and Italy boosted demand for mass-market brands. Industrywide EU car sales figures for March are due to be published on April 17.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report