Volkswagen, the biggest European car maker, posted record sales of 6.29 million vehicles for 2009 on Jan. 11 as it pursues Japanese rival Toyota for the title of world number one.
VW's full-year result was an increase of 1.1% from the 2008 figure and represented a global market share of 11.4%, up from 10.3% a year earlier. It added that 2010 market share should be even stronger, as it works to overtake Toyota by 2018 as the biggest car maker in the world.
Among the group's 10 brands, the VW nameplate reported a 7.8% increase to 3.95 million vehicles last year, while its high-end unit Audi posted separately a drop of 5.4% to 949,700.
That was nonetheless better than a fall of 10.4% by rival BMW, which said it had delivered 1.29 million cars owing to weaker consumer confidence and tighter credit markets.
VW benefitted from car scrapping premiums worldwide in 2009, as buyers focused on smaller, less expensive autos to make the most of state-subsidized windfalls.
Makers of luxury cars nonetheless said their results had begun to pick up towards the end of the year, and BMW sales chief Ian Robertson told reporters at the Detroit car show that sales were expected to rise in the "single-digit percentage range" in 2010.
Audi exceeded its 2009 sales target and said it aimed to deliver more than one million autos this year.
On Jan. 8, Daimler said its 2009 sales had dropped by 10.1% to almost 1.13 million Mercedes-Benz, Smart city cars and other autos.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010