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China helps Volkswagen steer clear of Europe's car crisis

Reuters - Robust demand in China has become the engine driving growth at German auto maker Volkswagen (VW). Rising sales in the world's biggest car market made VW shine in May, despite the dark clouds over Europe's car markets.

Volkswagen Group (VW) sold 816,500 passenger cars in May, which was about 57,000 cars or 7 percent more than in the same month a year ago, Europe's biggest carmaker said Friday.

Sales in May boosted the total number of VW cars and light trucks, excluding MAN and SCANIA heavy trucks, sold in the first five months of 2013 to 3.87 million vehicles, the Wolfsburg-based car group added.

The future of VW lies overseas

Most of the growth in this five-month period came from China where VW sold 18 percent more than in the same period a year ago. With 1.28 million cars, the world's biggest car market took in about a third of VW's total car production so far this year.

While growth was also significant in the United States - up by 11 percent - demand in Western Europe slumped 3.5 percent to 1.53 million VW cars in the first five months of 2013.

2013 sales in the 12-brand car group were led by Audi, VW, Porsche and Seat. Skoda posted a decline of 7 percent, which VW sales manager Christian Klingler attributed to a model change at the Czech car manufacturer.

Klingler also said developments in global car markets varied significantly, and were marked by continued economic uncertainty in Western Europe.

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