The Volkswagen Group has said that it had delivered 5% fewer vehicles in the first six months of 2009 over the same period last year. However, the German automaker noted that it outperformed the general market and gained share.

In a statement, group sales and marketing chief Detlef Wittig said business was “running to plan”, but that a  “major effort” was needed in the second half.

Volkswagen said that in the difficult economic environment, it had increased its share of the world passenger car market from January to June to 12%, up from 9.9% this time last year.

Some 3,100,300 cars, down 5% on last year’s first half, were delivered. VW said the overall passenger car market contracted 17.%.

June deliveries rose 6.5% to 609,800 units, up from 572,700.

“The comparatively good trend in our sales figures shows that the group is headed in the right direction. Everything is running to plan. Nevertheless, a major effort is needed in the second half of the year if we are to remain on course. Economic uncertainty will continue as the year progresses,” said Wittig.

VW cars in particular achieved a market share rise in the first half, growing 1.7% points to 8%. Deliveries rose 2.2% to 1,949,000 vehicles. The company said this was primarily due to rises in Germany, Brazil and especially China.

Positive momentum could also be expected from the new Polo over the coming months.

The Audi, ŠKoda and Seat also developed better than the overall market.

While the passenger car market in Europe contracted by 18.4% overall, the group reported a
smaller decline of 11.7% to 1,662,900 (1,883,700) units. Around 221,900 vehicles were delivered in North America, down 12.6%, in a market that contracted 33.2%.

South American passenger car market share rose to 22.1% from 19%.

In Brazil, the largest market there, deliveries rose 6.1% to 335,700 vehicles, beating the 3.7% rise in the passenger car market.

Asia/Pacific sales fell 0.6% but the group reported a rise in the number of deliveries to 723,800 units, up 18.6%.