Despite gloom in Russia, China and South America, the Volkswagen Group managed to keep first half sales north of five million and just 0.5% down year on year at 5.04m.

But, with June deliveries down 4.3% to 840,400, the automaker described the situation in June as "tense".

"Overall, Volkswagen Group brands recorded satisfactory development in the first half of the year in what has in some cases been a difficult market environment. Developments in South America and Russia remain tense, as do conditions in China, where growth on the overall market has been shrinking steadily since the beginning of this year and became negative in June for the first time in several years. As the market leader, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in particular was not immune to these changes currently affecting the market", sales chief Christian Klingler said.

European sales rose 3.7% to 2.11m (2.04m; +3.7%) with western Europe, other than Germany, up 6.9% to 1.14m and the home market up 6.7% to 668,300.

Central and eastern Europe sales fell 11.6% to 304,000 with Russia down 40.9% to 84,300.

North America region sales rose 6% to 451,200 with 295,000 of those in the US, up 2.4%.

In South Americ, "where conditions remain challenging", group sales fell 22.5% to 297,300 with Brazil down 29.6% to 211,800.

A drop of 3.9% to 1.74m sales in China drove Asia-Pacific sales down 3% to 1.94m.