Volkswagen announces record 1st-half group sales

AP News
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Posted: Jul 15, 2011 5:38 AM

Germany's Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest automaker, said Friday it set a new first-half group sales record, as strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region boosted deliveries.

The news sent shares up 1.23 percent to euro148.60 ($211.04) in morning trading to lead Frankfurt's DAX.

The Wolfsburg-based company said it sold 4.09 million vehicles in the first six months of 2011, up 14.1 percent over the same period last year.

Asia-Pacific saw a 19.5 percent increase to 1.26 million vehicles, primarily in China, where sales increased 16.4 percent to 1.1 million. India saw the highest growth percentage, with sales up 217.2 percent to 55,100.

North American sales were up 21.2 percent to 319,100, while South American sales were up 10.9 percent to 455,200.

Europe remained the single biggest market, posting growth of 9.3 percent to 1.9 million vehicles, bolstered by robust 28.9 percent growth in Eastern Europe sales to 253,700 vehicles.

CEO Martin Winterkorn said on the sidelines of an event Monday night in Berlin that the company expected to sell some 8 million vehicles by year's end, but Volkswagen board member Christian Klingler _ responsible for sales _ said in Friday's release that it was too early to project full year numbers.

"Success in the second six months won't be automatic," Klingler said. "Plenty of hard work lies ahead to keep our deliveries during the second half of the year at a high level."

He did say that Volkswagen projected sales better than the global auto market average, which the company said were up 6.1 percent in the first half.

Volkswagen said it saw growth across all of its brands, which include VW, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat and Skoda.

Volkswagen Passenger Car unit, sold 2.5 million vehicles for the January to June period, up 11.8 percent over the same period in 2010, followed by Audi, whose sales grew 17.7 percent to 653,000 vehicles, and Skoda with a 20.1 percent increase to 454,700.