Volkswagen’s quest to become the world’s largest carmaker continued apace as the company reported an almost 21% growth in vehicle deliveries in the first four months of this year to 2.34m worldwide, up from 1.93m a year ago.

Sales chief Christian Klingler said a strong upward trend was continuing in growth markets such as China and Brazil. The group also made progress in mature markets such as western Europe and North America.

Kilinger added, however: “Despite the very positive performance to date, we remain cautious about our forecast for the full year. It is still very difficult to predict macroeconomic developments.”

Group deliveries in China from rose to 620,500 from 405,500 a year ago, up 53%. This is now the largest market for both the group and core brand Volkswagen. A record 217,000 units were sold in Brazil, up 3.7% and, in India, sales almost doubled to 10,400.

US sales rose 37.7% to 112,600 and in Europe group brands delivered 1.13m, an increase of 9.5%. Western European deliveries grew 11.9% to 1.01m.

At home VW delivered 345,500, down 6.5% in a German market down 25.5%.

VW brand passenger car deliveries rose to 1.49m; up 22.6% including 494,000 in China (+47.2%) and 547,000 in Europe (+11.7%). The Golf was by far the most popular model, with worldwide deliveries of roughly 223,000, up from 170,200 in the first four months of last year.

Audi continued its growth, delivering 360,800 models worldwide, an increase of 23.7% with double-digit growth in South America (+80.7%) and in Asia-Pacific (+65.7%). The brand delivered 71,100 cars in China (+72.6%), topping the 70,000 mark for the first time and making China the premium brand’s largest market. The new A5 Sportback and A5 Cabriolet as well as the Q5 were among the most popular models.

Škoda deliveries rose 18% to 242,100 vehicles worldwide, also with very strong growth in China where it sold 54,800 cars, an increase of 92.6%. The brand also continued to grow deliveries in its home market of the Czech Republic to 18,900 (+25.8%).

The troubled Seat brand also booked a 10.7% increase in global sales to 117,400 units, enjoying success in western Europe with deliveries totalling 103,500, up 13.8% on the year while sales in its home market, Spain, grew 46.2% to 35,000.