VW Sales Climb 19% on China Lift

Volkswagen AG (VLKAF), Europe's largest carmaker, posted the strongest monthly sales gain this year as the namesake brand and Audi luxury division won customers in all major markets.

Deliveries in November increased 19 percent from a year earlier to 531,300 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Eleven-month sales rose 2 percent to 5.85 million vehicles, accelerating from a 0.6 percent gain for the first 10 months.

Volkswagen completed the purchase of a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche Automobil Holding SE's carmaking division on Dec. 7 and agreed two days later to acquire 19.9 percent of Suzuki Motor Corp. Volkswagen today reiterated a forecast of a "slight" increase in full-year sales from the record 6.23 million vehicles delivered in 2008.

"We've been able to exceed our expectations" in 11-month deliveries, Detlef Wittig, Volkswagen's sales chief, said in the statement. "We're on the right track with our model range that's ecological and tailored to specific market needs."

Volkswagen rose as much as 1.71 euros, or 2.1 percent, to 82.41 euros and was up 1.4 percent as of 12:37 p.m. in Frankfurt trading. That pared the stock's decline this year to 67 percent.

Sales in China, the carmaker's largest market, surged 73 percent to 133,700 vehicles in November as the Volkswagen brand, the maker of the Golf and Polo models, gained 63 percent to 105,900 cars and SUVs. Audi said Dec. 8 that Chinese sales more than doubled in November to 16,503 vehicles from 8,173 units.

The Volkswagen group, which also includes Italian sports- car maker Lamborghini, Czech division Skoda Auto, Spanish unit Seat, and Crewe, England-based Bentley, posted delivery gains of 19 percent in Germany, 7.3 percent in western Europe outside its home market, 8.7 percent in the U.S. and 27 percent in South America. Deliveries dropped 21 percent in central and eastern Europe in November.

The market in 2010 will be "extremely difficult" with European deliveries likely to post a "clear decline" after government-backed trade-in incentives expire, Volkswagen said.

"We cannot sound the all-clear," Wittig said. Global car markets may post "a very diverse development" next year.

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