Volkswagen has set a new delivery record for first half of the year, up 16% for the group and the core VW brand, thanks to strong growth in China, USA and western Europe.

The group sold 3.58m vehicles in the first six months, against 3.1m in the same period last year with June up nearly 6% at 644,600.

Board member for sales Christian Klingler said he is optimistic for the rest of the year although the results of the first half cannot be projected through to December.

VW posted a 45.7% rise in first half deliveries in China, now its largest market, with the number of vehicles increasing to 950,300 compared with 652,200 in 2009. Growth rates for the VW Lavida and new Bora, the Audi Q5 and Škoda Fabia were particularly high.

In India, deliveries doubled to 17,400, up 12%, and sales in the Asia-Pacific region rose 45.2%.

US sales totalled 175,300 sales, up from 135,800 a year ago, while European sales rose 4.7% to 1.74m passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. June western Europe sales were up 41% to 151,100.

The downturn in Germany, after the end of last year’s scrappage scheme, continued as expected at 28.7% although the group outperformed the overall market, delivering 531,300 vehicles, down from 632,000 a year ago.

VW brand passenger cars achieved sales of 2.26m units worldwide during the first six months, up from 1.85m, with strongest growth in Asia-Pacific, up 40.6%.

Audi delivered 554,900 vehicles, up 19.1%, and is firmly on course for a new delivery record for the full year. Business in European markets, the USA and in China in particular was better than expected. Growth was strongest in South America as deliveries increased 79.5%.

Škoda sales were up 15% on 2009 at 378,700 units, again thanks to strong growth in Asia-Pacific where deliveries rose 79%.

Seat delivered 181,800 vehicles, a 5% increase, with demand particularly strong at home in Spain - 56,900 vehicles, up 43.2% year on year.