VW sales drive forward

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest automaker, said group sales posted record gains in the first quarter thanks to increased demand from North America, Russia, and China.

Total sales in March rose 12.5 per cent to a record 862,700. Sales of brands including luxury division Audi and Czech mass market manufacturer Skoda increased 9.6 per cent in the first three months of 2012 to 2.16m units.

In North America, sales of passenger cars and sport-utility vehicles increased 24.5 per cent, with demand in the US alone rising 34 per cent. China, Volkswagen’s biggest single market, gained 15.6 per cent to 633,900 autos the German automaker said.

These record increases helped to offset declining demand in Western Europe, where sales dropped 4.7 per cent.