Frankfurt Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, reported accelerating first-half sales growth as Chinese and U.S. demand helped its premium Audi division and namesake VW brand.
Deliveries in the first six months of 2012 rose 8.9 per cent to 4.5 million cars, vans and sport-utility vehicles, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Sales rose 11 per cent in June to 798,500 vehicles.
Group sales “developed very well in the first half of the year,” Christian Klingler, the company’s sales chief, said in the statement. “But that is by no means cause for euphoria. The economic situation, particularly in western Europe, remains tense and difficult.”
Volkswagen has a target of overtaking General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. to become the world’s biggest carmaker by 2018. The German manufacturer’s first-half sales growth, helped by new versions of Audi’s A3 hatchback and VW’s mid-sized Passat, was dominated by increases of 18 per cent in the Asia- Pacific region and 22 per cent in North America.Sales in western Europe outside Germany fell 5.7 per cent. Including gains of 4.4 per cent in its home country and 27 per cent in the central and eastern part of the region, deliveries in Europe rose 1.8 per cent, Volkswagen said.
Volkswagen fell as much as 1.1 per cent to 132.20 euros and was trading down 0.6 per cent at 11:48 a.m. in Frankfurt. The preferred shares have gained 15 per cent this year.
China is now the largest national market for both the VW and Audi brands. Group sales gains at VW, which also owns mass- market carmakers Seat and Skoda as well as the high-end Bentley and Lamborghini marques, contrast with declines at European competitors including PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault SA, which are more dependent on the region.
Peugeot’s first-half deliveries fell 13 per cent. The Paris- based carmaker, Europe’s second-biggest, said yesterday that it plans to shutter a plant in France by 2014, the country’s first auto-factory closing in two decades, because it doesn’t expect the region’s market to pick up soon. Peugeot stock dropped to a 23-year low today amid investor concern that France’s government may intervene in the reorganization plans.
Renault, based in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, reported a 3.3 per cent decline in first-half car sales. The drop prompted the automaker to scrap a target range for full-year delivery growth, though it’s sticking to a prediction that sales will rise thanks to gains outside Europe.
The VW figures don’t include numbers from Porsche AG, the sports-car maker it’s taking full control of on Aug. 1. The brand reported a 14 per cent gain in first-half sales to 69,171 cars and SUVs, boosted by a 19 per cent jump in June, as a new version of the 911 model won customers.from gulfnews.com