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Volkswagen November sales up 19 pct

Volkswagen AG's group sales were up 19 percent on the year in November, powered by a strong increase at its core brand, the company said Friday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Volkswagen AG's group sales were up 19 percent on the year in November, powered by a strong increase at its core brand, the company said Friday.

The company, based in Wolfsburg, said it delivered 531,300 cars last month, compared with 446,000 a year earlier.

Europe's largest automaker said the Volkswagen brand alone saw a 25.8 percent rise in car sales to 334,500 from 266,000. Other brands such as Skoda and Seat also saw increases.

"We have exceeded our expectations so far this year," VW sales and marketing official Detlef Wittig said. He added that "our group brands are on the right track."

Wittig warned, however, that the company still doesn't see signs of a strong turnaround on international auto markets for the coming year, which he said will be "extremely difficult."

"Very different developments are expected on markets around the world," he added. "While the upward trend in China is anticipated to continue, we expect a marked decline on the European market in particular."

Demand for nearly every VW model was up, particularly the Golf and Polo, the company said.

Skoda sales were up 26 percent and Seat's rose by 8 percent. Deliveries by the luxury Audi brand were up nearly 9 percent overall, with sales in China more than doubling.

In China, Volkswagen's biggest market, sales increased by 73 percent to 133,700 vehicles. Asia-Pacific region deliveries were up 69 percent overall.

South American sales were up 27 percent, while deliveries rose more than 19 percent in Canada and U.S. sales were up almost 9 percent.

German deliveries in November were up nearly 19 percent to 102,000 vehicles. VW said a government-funded scrapping premium, which has now expired, contributed to the increase.

In western Europe excluding Germany, sales were 7.3 percent higher.

Still, VW said the situation in many regions "remains tense."

Sales in eastern Europe fell 21.4 percent, but VW said it performed much better than the overall market, which declined more than 40 percent.

UniCredit analyst Christian Aust said Volkswagen's announcement earlier this week that it would buy a 19.9 percent stake in Japanese automaker Suzuki was a shrewd move.

"The shareholding in Suzuki will expand VW's presence in Asia, which was so far concentrated on China, and give VW access to Suzuki's small-car expertise," Aust said in a research note. Suzuki is, for example, strong in India.

"In return, VW will share fuel-efficiency technology and maybe also open the global distribution network to Suzuki."

Volkswagen shares were more than 2 percent higher at euro82.25 ($121.73) in Frankfurt morning trading.


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