FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen brand's global vehicle sales fell 4.7 percent in February, hit by declines in China, the U.S., Brazil and Russia. However, Europe was a bright spot for VW Group's core unit.
VW brand deliveries dropped to 394,000 last month from 413,700 a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. That pushed two-month sales to a 0.5 percent decline, to 915,800 vehicles.
Demand in China, the brand's largest single market, fell by 3 percent due to the Chinese New Year celebrations, while sales in the U.S. dropped by 13 percent amid negative publicity over the automaker's cheating of U.S. diesel emissions tests.
Sales in Brazil plunged 40 percent while volume in Russia was down 7 percent. Both countries have been hit by economic downturns. Industry executives in Brazil are predicting a marketwide drop exceeding 7.5 percent this year and a Russian car-sales recovery isn’t foreseen until 2017.
VW brand's sales in Europe, where the marque is recalling 8.5 million diesel cars fitted with manipulated software, rose 3.7 percent. "Our customers remain loyal to us in a challenging period," sales and marketing chief, Juergen Stackmann, said in the statement.
Sales increased 3.7 percent in the brand's German home market, where overall sales were up 12 percent.
Stackmann said the latest-generation Tiguan, which rolls out in Europe starting next month, will give the brand a big push. VW said it has received 15,000 pre-orders for the compact SUV in the past seven weeks.
The Tiguan is Europe's second best-selling SUV after the Nissan Qashqai with a European volume of 148,940 last year, down 1.3 percent, compared with sales of 232,788 for the Qashqai, up 14 percent, according to data from market researchers JATO Dynamics.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report