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Audi Sales Down 4.2 Percent

Volkswagen AG unit said its December sales were down 4.2 percent, and sales for all of 2009 were down 5.4 percent.

BERLIN (AP) -- Audi reported Monday that sales of its luxury cars were down 4.2 percent on the year in December, but said full-year sales still beat its most recent forecast.

The Volkswagen AG unit said it sold 79,300 cars last month. Over the whole of 2009, it sold 949,700 cars -- down from just above 1 million the previous year, a 5.4 percent decline.

That was better than Audi's full-year sales forecast of 925,000, which was raised in November from the original figure of 900,000.

"We are making a lively start in 2010 and aim to deliver one million cars again," Chief Executive Rudolf Stadler said in a statement.

Audi said it was helped last year by a 32.9 sales increase in China, where the company shifted nearly 159,000 vehicles. In December, Chinese sales were up 75.6 percent to more than 19,000.

Full-year sales in the United States were down 5.7 percent at 82,716, but in December they rose by 17.1 percent on the year to 9,030.

In Europe, sales were down 12.8 percent for the full year at 618,850; in December, they dropped a steeper 22.8 percent to 44,100. Overall car sales in Germany have been tailing off since a popular government car-scrapping bonus scheme expired in September.

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