The Volkswagen Group, comprised of more than a dozen brands including Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche, achieved more than 9.7 million vehicle sales in 2013, a new record for the German auto giant and perhaps the amount that finally sees it reach its goal of being the world’s number one automaker in terms of sales. The title is currently held by Toyota which in 2012 registered 9.7 million sales itself. Figures for it and another contender, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM], are yet to be released.

VW Group’s sales record was calculated using estimates for its MAN and Scania truck brands. Excluding those, the tally drops to 9.5 million vehicles, up 4.8 percent on the 9.1 million sold in 2012.

Developments in the various regions and world markets were mixed. VW Group brands sold 3.65 million vehicles in Europe in 2013, which was 0.5 of a percent down on the 3.67 million it sold there in 2012.

Sales in the North America region grew 5.6 percent to 888,800 vehicles, up from 841,500 the previous year. The bulk of these, 611,700 vehicles, were sold in the U.S. market, a rise of 2.6 percent from the 596,100 sold the previous year. To boost sales in the future, VW has given the green light for production of a seven-seat SUV based on its CrossBlue concept from 2013. Sales are expected to commence in 2016.

The VW Group recorded very encouraging figures in the Asia-Pacific region where 3.64 million sales were registered in 2013, up 14.7 percent from the 3.17 million the previous year. China, including Hong Kong, accounted for the bulk of these. With 3.27 million sales there, up 16.2 percent from the 2.81 million sold the previous year, it was easily the single  biggest market for the VW Group.

Looking forward, VW Group managers expect market developments in 2014 to be on a level similar to the previous year. However, they concede that economic uncertainty will continue and the challenges no less severe despite the situation in Europe appearing to stabilize. The VW Group's goal remains to be the world's number one automaker in terms of sales by 2018, with its VW and Audi brands to have one million combined sales in the U.S. by that same date.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.