Volkswagen group vehicle sales in the first quarter rose by 7.9% to a record 1.47m units, thanks in part to sharp gains in China and Brazil, according to a report on Tuesday.

"All brands contributed to these excellent results, confirming that the group is in a good position to master forthcoming challenges and that we will meet our sales targets for this year in spite of difficult market conditions," Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement cited by Reuters.

The news agency noted that Volkswagen has forecast a "slight" increase in vehicle sales in 2007 versus last year, when demand for its cars and trucks rose 9.4% to 5.7m units.

Reuters said the group's core VW brand saw first-quarter deliveries to customers rise 6.8% to 850,000 vehicles amid a 23% gain in China while VW brand sales in Germany fell nearly 11% amid a sales tax increase at the start of the year.

Seat sales rose 1% to 108,000 vehicles as higher demand in its core market of western Europe compensated for declines in other regions, the report added.

Audi sales grew 9.4% to 248,000 vehicles and the commercial vehicles division increased deliveries by 10.6% to 110,000 units while Czech unit Skoda enjoyed an even stronger 15.5% rise to 150,000 cars, thanks to the roll-out of its new Roomster model, Reuters said.