Business / Auto Data

Volkswagen deliveries top 10 million for first time

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-01-13 11:17

Volkswagen AG delivered more than 10 million vehicles for the first time in 2014, reaching the annual-sales milestone four years earlier than originally targeted on the back of strong growth in China.

Deliveries, including Porsche and Audi cars and MAN and Scania heavy trucks, rose 4.2 percent to 10.14 million vehicles last year, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer said on Monday in a statement.

Beyond expanding sales VW is "making good progress" on improving profitability and customer satisfaction, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in the statement.

Under Winterkorn, Volkswagen has focused on growth in its bid to surpass Toyota Motor Corp as the world's largest automaker by 2018. VW narrowed the gap to about 72,000 vehicles in the first three quarters in 2014 compared with 227,000 a year earlier, paced by demand in China and surging sales of Audi and Porsche models. The Japanese company will report global full-year sales later this month.

The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong accounted for a record 3.67 million vehicle deliveries at VW group last year, up 12.4 percent and extending the country's lead as the German manufacturer's largest single market.

Audi's global deliveries rose 11 percent to a record of 1.74 million vehicles. The world's second-largest luxury brand is pushing BMW for the top spot and will unveil a revamped version of the Q7 sport-utility vehicle in Detroit next week as part of its effort to close the gap. Porsche sales surged 17 percent to 189,850 vehicles, lifted by the new Macan compact crossover.

Recalls last year have not hurt demand so far at VW, Toyota, or General Motors Co, which ranks third in global sales volume.

Toyota and GM have been among 10 carmakers recalling a combined 7.8 million vehicles in the US because of faults in air bags made by Takata Corp. While VW is not affected by that flaw, the company recalled 1.02 million cars in the US and China because of a possible suspension defect.

The recalls that roiled global automakers and their suppliers last year underscore growing complexity for vehicle manufacturers when pushing for economies of scale by sharing parts and components across a wide range of different vehicles.

After years of emphasizing sales growth, acquisitions and adding factories across the globe, VW has shifted focus to boosting earnings power. Better returns will help offset even higher spending, with VW planning to invest about 17 billion euros ($20.2 billion) a year through 2019 on new vehicles, technology and upgrading its manufacturing network.

The goal for the VW brand is to boost operating profit to at least 6 percent of sales by 2018 from a 2.3 percent margin in the first nine months of 2014.

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