GLOBAL ECONOMY

Volkswagen Hits Production Record, But Sales Down In South America

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2012 file picture a  worker fixes a sign  at a Volkswagen Golf car during a press tour in Zwickau, central Germany.  Volkswagen AG says it delivered a record 9.5 million cars and commercial vehicles last year, a 4.8 percent increase, as growing Chinese and North American demand compensated for a slight decline in Europe. Volkswagen board member Christian Klingler said Saturday Jan. 11, 2014  the company expects "market developments on a level similar to 2013" this year.(AP Photo/Jens Meyer,File)

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2012 file picture a worker fixes a sign at a Volkswagen Golf car during a press tour in Zwickau, central Germany. Volkswagen AG says it delivered a record 9.5 million cars and commercial vehicles last year, a 4.8 percent increase, as growing Chinese and North American demand compensated for a slight decline in Europe. Volkswagen board member Christian Klingler said Saturday Jan. 11, 2014 the company expects "market developments on a level similar to 2013" this year.(AP Photo/Jens Meyer,File)

Volkswagen AG said Saturday that it delivered a record 9.5 million cars and commercial vehicles last year, a 4.8 percent increase, as growing Chinese and North American demand compensated for a slight decline in Europe.

The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said that the Volkswagen Group — which includes Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat — finished the year with a strong performance in December, when sales rose 6.3 percent over a year earlier to 833,200.

European deliveries slipped 0.5 percent to 3.65 million, but Chinese sales rose 16.2 percent to 3.27 million.

North American sales climbed 5.6 percent to 888,800, including a 2.6 percent gain to 611,700 in the United States. Deliveries in South America, however, dropped 10.1 percent to 908,000, led by a 12.6 percent decline in Brazil.

Volkswagen board member Christian Klingler said the company expects "market developments on a level similar to 2013" this year.

"Even though the situation in Europe would appear to be stabilizing, economic uncertainty will continue and the challenges we will be facing on markets will remain virtually unchanged," he added in a statement.

Volkswagen said that, adding in estimated sales by the MAN and Scania heavy truck brands, total group deliveries rose to more than 9.7 million vehicles last year — an increase of almost 5 percent.

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