VW brand global sales reached a record 5.1 million in 2011 image

Volkswagen brand sales increased 13 percent to a record 5.1 million units last year, thanks to solid growth in key markets such as China, U.S., Russia and India.

By far, the largest single market for VW cars was China, with 1.72 million units sold, an increase of 13.8 percent over 2010. For the first time in history, VW China sales equalled VW sales in the entire Europe last year. In the U.S., sales of VW models rose 26.3 percent to 324,400 cars, seeing strong demand for models including the new Passat.

The VW brand’s performance in emerging markets was equally impressive, with India posting record sales growth last year of 151 percent to 76,100 units. In Russia, sales more than doubled to 100.4 percent, with VW delivering 118,000 cars in 2011. In Europe, VW was one of the few brands that reported growth last year, with sales increasing 11.2 percent to 1.72 million units, largely due to demand from northern countries. For comparison, the overall European car market grew 3.6 percent in the same period.

Although Volkswagen saw strong growth in 2011, sales chief Christian Klinger warned that the company must not rest on its laurels. In a statement issued on Friday, Klinger said the market will remain challenging in 2012.