Volkswagen 2007 Sales to Rise to Record

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Volkswagen AG, Europe's biggest automaker, said that sales of its namesake brand will rise to a record this year after gaining 8.3 percent in the past eight months - thanks to the escalating demand for its best-selling Golf model, with more than 25 million units built by 2007.

According to the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker, global deliveries will rise at least 3.2 percent to more than 3.5 million vehicles. The automaker sold 3.39 million Volkswagen-brand cars and sport-utility vehicles in the previous year.

"By the end of the year Volkswagen will deliver more than 3.5 million vehicles, more than ever before," VW brand sales and marketing chief Michael Kern said in a statement on Thursday.

Volkswagen Golf, a small compact car, was the first successful replacement for the air-cooled Beetle. The Golf's success made the use of the hatchback in the C segment of cars popular. Based on Bloomberg data, Golf sales in the first half, the latest figures available, rose ten percent to 300,600 vehicles, and the automaker has added shifts at the main Wolfsburg plant to increase production.

The current Golf will be replaced in 2008 with the next generation model. Sales generally decline for cars nearing the end of their life cycle as customers wait for the new version.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn announced plans last week to add 12 models at the Volkswagen group within the next three years as he seeks to boost sales to 8 million vehicles. Groupwide sales this year will rise to a record 6 million cars and SUVs, from 5.73 million in 2006, he said.

The German automaker said that sales at the namesake brand increased by 12 percent in August, led by growth in China. Additionally, worldwide deliveries climbed to 286,000 cars and sport- utility vehicles, automaker said in an e-mailed statement. Eight-month sales gained 8.3 percent from a year earlier to 2.4 million vehicles.

The automaker also said that the unit sales of its Volkswagen brand totaled 286,000 in August, up 12.1 percent compared with the same month last year. For the January-August period, total unit sales were 8.3 percent higher year-on-year, Forbes reported.

The maker of said that it expects to sell more than 3.5 million vehicles of the core brand by the end of the year. The German automaker also intimated that the Volkswagen brand will increase sales by over 3.1 percent this year, thanks to strong growth in emerging markets like Argentina, Brazil, and China.

In 2006, models like the Eos hardtop retractable coupe-cabriolet, as reported by Reuters, helped augment the automaker's core brand sales by ten percent to nearly 3.4 million units. At present, the automaker is striving to improve its lineup to pull more shoppers.

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