Volkswagen's core VW brand worldwide car deliveries rose by 6.3% to 456,200 units in April, driving up four-month sales by 9.4% percent to 1.66 million. The strong demand in the United States, Russia and China helped offset a drop in western Europe, where austerity measures in nations like Spain and Italy are keeping purchasers away from showrooms.
Christian Klingler, VW board member for sales and marketing, related that Volkswagen passenger cars brand made a "very good start" to the second quarter, but they remain "very vigilant" considering the situation in west European markets. VW did not publish sales figures in April for individual markets.
The company said four-month deliveries of VW brand in western Europe, excluding Germany, declined 5.1% to 303,400 units. In VW's home market of Germany, sales were up 4.7% to 202,400 units.
Total sales for the brand in Europe increased 4% to 589,800 units. In the company's largest single market -- China -- VW brand deliveries rose 13% to 653,300 units. Sales were up 38% in the United States to 131,900 units, thanks in part to the local production of the new Passat model.
Meanwhile, sales in Russia doubled to 50,000 units. Sales in South America were flat, increasing only 0.6% to 246,300 units. Volkswagen is due to post sales for all its group brands on May 11.
These brands include Skoda, Audi, Bentley and Seat. VW Group is aiming to outperform General Motors Co. to be the bestselling carmaker in the world by 2018. VW sold 8.27 million units in 2011, second to GM with 9.05 million units. It is ahead of Toyota with 7.95 million units.