Volkswagen's luxury car brands post record sales
Volkswagen's luxury brands - Porsche, Audi and Bentley - have posted record sales helped by new model launches and a recovery in the global car market.
Porsche's deliveries jumped 15%, Audi's 8.3% and Bentley posted a growth of 19% in 2013, from a year earlier.
Demand for luxury cars has been growing in emerging markets such as China and India amid rising income levels.
Carmakers have also benefited from a recovery in demand from the US, one of the biggest markets for luxury cars.
Audi's sales jumped 13.5% in the US during the period, from a year ago, while Porsche saw a growth of 21%. Bentley deliveries in the US rose 28%.
China was the other major growth market for the firm, with both Audi and Porsche posting nearly 20% growth.
End Quote Rupert Stadler Audi
We achieved our intermediate strategic goal of 1.5 million deliveries two years earlier than planned”
However, Bentley's sales in China declined 3% from a year ago.'Important milestone'
Volkswagen has set its sights on becoming the world's biggest carmaker by 2018.
The latest figures are likely to provide a big boost to the German carmakers's ambitions.
Overall, Audi sold 1.57 million cars and sport-utility vehicles globally last year, Porsche sold 162,145 vehicles and Bentley's sales totalled 10,120 units.
"We set an important milestone for Audi in the past year: We achieved our intermediate strategic goal of 1.5 million deliveries two years earlier than planned, and in fact comfortably exceeded it," Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, said in a statement.
"This means that in the past four years alone, Audi has attracted more than 600,000 new customers."Global recovery
The numbers by Volkswagen come at a time when the global car market has been recovering from the slump seen in the years after the global financial crisis.
Data released on Thursday showed that car sales in China - the world's biggest car market - rose 14% in 2013, from a year ago. That compares to an annual growth rate of less than 5% seen in the previous two year.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers 21.98 million vehicles were sold in China last year.
Industry figures released earlier this week showed that UK car sales rose to 2.26 million units in 2013 - a jump of 10.8% from the previous year. The figure was the best since 2007.
Analysts also expect 2013 to be the best year for US auto market since 2007, with total annual sales expected to reach nearly 15.6 million units.
If that figure is met, it would mark a strong recovery from 2009 when sales fell to 10.4 million during the depths of the recession.
Carmakers have obviously benefited from this recovery.
US firm Ford has already said it expects to make a profit of about $8.5bn (£5.2bn) for 2013 - making it one of the most profitable ones in its history.
On Thursday, the company announced that it was increasing its quarterly dividend by 25%.