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Volkswagen Has Record September Sales, Up 6.5%

Volkswagen's group sales rose 6.5 percent last month to 545,500 vehicles, its best September ever, as brisk foreign sales offset a slump at home in Germany, Europe's biggest carmaker said on Thursday.

The group delivered a record 4.61 million vehicles worldwide in the first three quarters of the year, up 8.2 percent, it added in a statement.

Group car sales in Europe in the first nine months advanced 2.8 percent to 2.71 million vehicles, of which 2.35 million were sold in western Europe, a gain of 0.6 percent.

Sales in Germany, its largest single market with nearly 770,000 units sold, shrank 3.7 percent. The entire domestic market has struggled this year to handle a three-point rise in value-added tax.

Volkswagen prospered in central and eastern Europe, where its sales rose more than a fifth to 358,000 cars.

A 30 percent increase in China helped VW deliveries in the overall Asia-Pacific region gain almost 26 percent to 790,000 vehicles.

In South America, brisk sales in Brazil paced a 29 percent rise to 534,000 vehicles. North America deliveries edged up 0.2 percent to 395,000 vehicles, while US sales eased 0.3 percent to 247,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen plans to price its vehicles in the US market more aggressively and drop costly features many customers there do not want, Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn told the Wall Street Journal Europe newspaper.

The idea is to narrow the sales gap that separates VW from larger rival Toyota Motor of Japan.

Among individual brands, Volkswagen deliveries rose 8.2 percent in the first three quarters to 2.73 million units, Audi sales increased 8.3 percent to 741,000 vehicles, and Skoda sales swelled 12.6 percent to 462,000 vehicles.

Seat sales slipped 1.3 percent to 319,500 vehicles, while Volkswagen commercial vehicles sales rose 11.4 percent to 356,000.

Sales for the luxury Bentley brand rose 18.7 percent to 7,800 cars, while Lamborghini deliveries rose 20 percent to 1,800. Bugatti more than doubled sales to 59 cars.