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German automakers achieve robust start in 2014

Volkswagen employees work on cars on the assembly line of the plant in Sao Paulo/AFP

Volkswagen employees work on cars on the assembly line of the plant in Sao Paulo/AFP

BERLIN, Feb 12 – German carmakers started 2014 with strong sales in January, thanks to a recovery of home market of Europe and strong demands from Asia, data showed on Tuesday.

Volkswagen, Germany’s largest carmaker, reported on Tuesday that it delivered 515,700 passenger cars to its global customers in January, up by 4.8 percent from the previous year.

Sales in Europe regained momentum in the first month of the year, said the company in a statement. Its delivery in Europe grew by 7.9 percent to 126,200 units. In Germany, 8.8 percent more cars were handed over.

Asia-Pacific region contributed the most to the increase of Volkswagen sales with a growth rate of 13.6 percent. Among the 285,300 vehicles delivered in the region, 267,800 units went to China.

BMW, another German auto giant, also said on Tuesday that it posted a new sales record in January.

Total vehicle delivery of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce increased by 7.8 percent to 132,892 units.

Deliveries of BMW and MINI models in Asia topped 50,000 for the first time in January with 50,841 cars. Sales in Chinese mainland were up by 22.2 percent to 37,137 cars.

Sales in Europe increased slightly by 1.4 percent to 51,319 units, while deliveries in United States rose by 3.0 percent to 20,796 vehicles in January.

“Looking ahead, although the economic climate remains challenging in many markets, there are signs of improvement and we are aiming for continued growth in 2014,” said Ian Robertson, sales chief of BMW.

Earlier this month, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz also reported strong sales in January. China contributed the most as a single country market to the record sales with a delivery of 24,199 unites, 44.9 percent more than in January 2013. In the U.S., the three-pointed star brand sold 22,604 vehicles, with a year-on-year growth of 0.5 percent.

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In its home market of Europe, Mercedes-Benz sales increased by 5.9 percent to 40,830 cars.
Volkswagen’s Audi announced on Monday that it had arranged 33 additional shifts to be worked at the German plants in January and February, due to strong demands for its various models.

In January, the luxury brand sold 124,850 cars, 11.7 percent more than in the previous year. Sales rose by 7.8 percent in Europe, by 0.4 percent in the U.S., and by 18.2 percent in China.

German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said last week that German auto production rose by 11 percent in January, while exports of German passenger cars climbed by 9 percent.

“We can see that the recovery is becoming more definite,” said VDA President Matthias Wissmann.

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