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Volkswagen Global Sales Surge In January

German car maker said its global sales were up 41.3 percent on the year in January, powered by strong demand in China.

BERLIN (AP) -- German car maker Volkswagen AG said Friday that its global sales were up more than 40 percent on the year in January, powered by strong demand in China.

Deliveries by the Volkswagen Group -- including brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda -- totaled 538,500 vehicles in January, up from 381,100 a year earlier. That was a 41.3 percent increase.

However, the board member responsible for sales, Christian Klingler, cautioned that the company still faces a challenging year because "the situation on international automotive markets remains tense."

In Germany, the Volkswagen group delivered 71,800 vehicles in January, an increase of 34.6 percent. In the U.S., it saw a 40.1 percent increase to 24,600 cars, benefiting from higher demand for smaller and more fuel-efficient cars.

The highest sales increase, however, came from China, where deliveries were up 98.8 percent on the year -- soaring to 166,900 from 83,900.

Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, is Europe's largest automotive group by sales. It also is a major shareholder of two of Europe's largest truck makers, MAN SE of Germany and Scania AB of Sweden.

In a market that was down slightly, shares of VW fell 2.7 percent at euro55.60 ($76.34) in afternoon trading in Frankfurt.

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