Strong sales in Eastern Europe helped Volkswagen AG post a 6.5 percent increase in September sales over the same month last year, despite difficulties caused by the European financial crisis.

Volkswagen said Friday it sold 801,000 vehicles in September, against 751,900 in September 2011. Overall sales through September were up 9.7 percent on the same period the previous year to 6.71 million.

The number includes Porsche for the first time, which became a Volkswagen brand in August. Porsche has sold 22,800 vehicles since then.

Group sales in Europe were up 0.8 percent in the first nine months, as a 6 percent drop in western Europe excluding Germany was offset by a 3 percent increase in the home market, and a 23.1 percent increase in central and eastern Europe, including Russia.