Volkswagen Group posted a 7-percent rise in sales in January to 798,100 units as sales in its core European markets recovered enough to offset double-digit drops in the United States and Brazil. The Group posted a 9-percent rise in registrations in Europe -- including its Audi and Skoda units -- to 273,700, the carmaker said in a statement.
Group deliveries in western Europe leaped 6 percent to 146,700 units and in Germany jumped 12 percent to 82,400. The carmaker posted an 11-percent rise in deliveries in central and eastern Europe, to 44,500 units.
Group sales in Russia, however, dropped 7 percent to 16,100. "We are seeing the first increases in Europe, above all in western Europe, where the downturn appears to have bottomed out," VW sales chief Christian Klingler said in the statement.
He said that the situation represented "a good start to what will be a challenging year." In January, VW said while the situation in Europe appeared to be stabilizing, economic uncertainty would continue and challenges in the markets would still be virtually unchanged.
Industry executives and analysts expect a return to low single-digit sales growth in 2014 in Europe, but are wary of the effect of chronic excess capacity and price war to profitability.
VW posted a 16-percent jump in sales in China to 344,400; a 13-percent in US deliveries to 36,900; and a 20-percent plunge in South America to 62,200 with 21-percent fall in Brazil to 43,600. All of VW's brands posted increases in January, with Skoda logging the biggest gain of 17 percent to 80,900. Deliveries at Audi jumped 12 percent to 124,900 while volume at the core VW brand leaped 5 percent to 515,700. [source: VW]