Volkswagen said it sold 652,000 cars in China during the first half of 2009, up 22.7% year-on-year and more than it sold in Germany for the first time.

Sales in the company’s domestic market reached 632,000 vehicles in the first six months of 2009, a rise of 18.3%.

VW‘s worldwide sales shrank 5% to 3.1m cars in the same period with European sales down 11.7% to 1.7m.

The company said sales of its smaller vehicles beneitted most in the first half of the year thanks to scrappage incentives introduced in a number of countries to help boost sales.

In the first six months of this year, VW’s global market share rose to 12% from 9.9% a year earlier.