Europe

Scandal can't keep Volkswagen from strong sales increase

Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen brand, poses with the I.D. Buzz all-electric concept van, at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen brand, poses with the I.D. Buzz all-electric concept van, at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)  (The Associated Press)

Booming business in China helped push Volkswagen to a 3.8 percent sales increase in 2016 — despite lawsuits and criminal investigations over its cars that cheated on emissions tests.

Volkswagen sold 10.31 million cars across all of the company's brands, which include Audi, Porsche and Skoda.

The results strengthened Volkswagen's bid for the title of world's largest carmaker against the sales leader from 2015, Toyota.

Sales in China grew 12.2 percent for the full year to 3.98 million.

Volkswagen was helped by a strong December. Global sales jumped 11.8 percent, helped by growth of 18.6 percent in China, the company's biggest single market.

Volkswagen has agreed to a $15 billion settlement with U.S. authorities and car buyers, and a former environmental compliance executive was arrested in Florida over the weekend.