Volkswagen Reports Strong First Half But Sees Tough Road Ahead

While Volkswagen, which has been vying for the top spot as the world's best-selling vehicle maker, heads into the remainder of 2012 'with confidence,' a top executive cautioned that the next six months 'will be altogether more challenging.'

Buoyed by a strong June, Volkswagen AG (IW 1000/10) said its delivered 4.45 million vehicles in the first six months of 2012, a nearly 9% year-over-year increase.

Volkswagen closed the first half on a high note, selling 798,500 vehicles, an 11% year-over-year increase.

However, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker cautioned that the second half of 2012 could be an uphill battle.  

"Deliveries by the Volkswagen Group developed very well in the first half of the year. But that is by no means cause for euphoria," Christian Klingler, Volkswagen Group's board member for sales, said. "The economic situation, particularly in Western Europe, remains tense and difficult."

While Volkswagen, which has been vying for the top spot as the world's best-selling vehicle maker, heads into the remainder of 2012 "with confidence," Klingler cautioned that the next six months "will be altogether more challenging."

Volkswagen reported mixed results in Europe.

While overall sales in the European market were up 1.8% to 1.93 million vehicles, they dropped 5.7% in Western Europe, excluding Germany.

In Central and Eastern Europe, sales were up 27.3%, while sales rose 4.4% in Germany.

Sales in North America were up 22.1% to 389,800 vehicles, according to the automaker.

Volkswagen's first-half sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 17.6% to 1.48 million vehicles, including 1.3 million vehicles in China.

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