Mubasher: Volkswagen (VW) sales hit a sales record of its namesake vehicles last year, despite delivery problems on the back of anti-pollution rules.
The German auto giant sold 6.24 million of its VW-branded vehicles last year, rising by 0.2% compared with the previous year.
The sales upturn growth in South America, the US and Europe, offsetting a sales decline in China and difficulties in registering cars following the introduction of new emissions standards.
The VW brand increased market share in China last year, but its vehicle sales dropped 2.1% on year, “mainly due to developments in China, where consumer restraint continues in an uncertain macroeconomic environment,” the company said.
In addition, sales for the wider Asia-Pacific region fell 1.7% year-on-year.
Despite a growth of 3.6% for the year, European sales were impacted by the introduction of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WTLP) emissions standards in September 2018.
“2018 was marked by significant uncertainty in some regions, especially in the second half,” VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said in a statement, adding that new products helped compensate for that.
The auto manufacturer’s electric and hybrid sales came in at about 50,000 vehicles, increasing 13% from the prior year.
As it was struggling to recover from a 2015 emissions test cheating scandal and facing tougher European environmental rules, VW has been trying to boost sales and lower costs to fund an ambitious shift to electric vehicles (EV) and autonomous driving.
Moreover, trade disputes with China driven by US President Donald Trump’s trade policies have cast uncertainty in the global auto industry.
“2019 will once again be a year of enormous challenges for the brand, aside from volume growth we will focus even more on our profitability,” Chief Operating Officer Ralf Brandstaetter said.