BERLIN (Reuters) -- Volkswagen brand is bracing for a challenging year after reporting that vehicle sales fell for a fourth straight month in January. VW was hit last month by shrinking demand in Europe and China.
January deliveries at VW-brand, which is VW Group's biggest division by sales and revenue, slipped 2.8 percent year-on-year to 507,100 vehicles.
Sales in Europe and China, which provided almost three-quarters of the VW brand's record 6.12 million deliveries last year, eased by 1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively to 124,900 and 265,900 cars, the automaker said in a statement today.
In Russia, where the ruble has been hammered by the slump in oil prices and Western sanctions related to the crisis in Ukraine, VW brand sales plunged by 28 percent to 6,200 cars.
"We are facing a challenging year," sales chief Christian Klingler said in the statment. "VW was not immune to the uncertainties in some regions that have continued into the current year."
Europe's largest carmaker, which sold a record 10.1 million vehicles across the multi-brand group in 2014, is seeking to cut costs at VW brand by 5 billion euros ($5.66 billion) over the next two years to narrow the profit gap with rivals such as Toyota.
VW Group will publish sales January data for all its brands, which include Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat, later this week.