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VW announces record 2012, predicts tougher 2013

German carmaker Volkswagen has followed luxury auto makers Daimler and BMW in announcing record sales figure for 2012. Europe's unrivaled auto leader now produces one out of every four cars sold on the continent.

In 2012, Volkswagen delivered 5.74 million passenger cars to customers around the world - up 12.7 percent from a year earlier, the car manufacturer based in Wolfsburg announced Friday.

December sales of 517,900 units - up 30 percent from the same month in 2011 - capped the best-ever year for the world's second-largest automaker, which sold one out of four new cars in Europe in 2012.

The German company was able to boost sales most notably in Asian and American markets, which, according to VW chief sales executive Christian Klingler, more than offset slumping sales in Europe.

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Volkswagen rolls out new Golf model

In addition, VW's new Golf 7 model, launched in November, got off to an outstanding start, Klingler said.

Although the German carmaker has been faring much better than others in Europe, VW announced that the company expects stronger headwinds in 2013, owing to persistently tight markets the debt-laden south.

"2013 will become a challenging year," sales chief Christian Klingler said, but added that Volkswagen is well-prepared to tackle it.

uhe/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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