Global sales at Volkswagen's Audi brand rose 14.6% In May to 94,900 units, led by China, where it leads the premium segment.

Sales growth this year is now running at 21.7% for the first five months with the UK and US also reporting good numbers, the company said.

Sales and marketing chief Peter Schwarzenbauer, said: “In Europe we will experience an additional boost with the A1. We have been taking orders for the past four weeks - and so far have registered more orders than for any other model in such an early phase."

The A1 will reach dealerships in late August and initially is intended exclusively for Europe.