LONDON, England (CNN) -- German car manufacturer Volkswagen is celebrating record January to June vehicle sales. It delivered 2.11 million vehicles worldwide during this period, an increase of 7.9 per cent over 2006 figures.
Volkswagen's sales growth is most pronounced in emerging markets China, Brazil and Argentina
The upwards trend is also reflected in July's figure, which has shown a 10.5 per cent increase over July 2006 to 310,00 vehicles. The figures relate to Volkswagen brand vehicles only, and not other subsidiary brands which include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda.
The Volkswagen group as a whole is the world's fourth largest car manufacturer after Toyota, General Motors and Ford.
"We have never sold so many Volkswagen vehicles in this period before. We look forward with confidence to the month ahead," said Dr Michael Kern, brand sales and marketing director.
Volkswagen's largest individual market is China, where it sold 443,000 vehicles over this period (an increase of 25.4 per cent). Brazil was its best improving market with a 30.6 per cent rise in sales (261,000 VW models).
The Volkswagen range starts with the compact Fox city car (designed and built by Volkswagen's Brazilian subsidiary) and rises to the Phaeton executive limousine (a poor seller in its Volkswagen guise but a platform that has spawned Audi and Bentley models).
Argentina also showed significant growth with an increase of 20.9 per cent (60,000 deliveries) over the same period.
Volkswagen started car manufacturing in 1937 at the behest of Adolf Hitler to produce the 'Beetle' people's car (literally 'volks wagen') designed by Ferdinand Porsche. After World War II, the British Army took control of the Wolfsburg, Germany factory and resumed production of the car. In 1948 control of the company was handed over to the German state. And in 1960 it eventually became a limited country.
Expansion in the American market in the 1960s helped boost the company's fortune, with the 'Beetle' becoming a cult car, particularly among the growing hippie sub-culture. But the company was in danger of relying too heavily on one model. The 'Beetle' spawned other rear-engined, air-cooled vehicles including the iconic Type 2 'campervan' and the pretty Karmann Ghia coupe. But with mechanical underpinnings dating from the 1930s, Volkswagen was desperate for new ideas by the early 1970s.
VW's lifeline came with the Golf hatchback, now in its fifth generation. The original Golf (known as the Rabbit in the USA) was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and was an instant success on its launch in 1974. It is still produced and marketed as the Volkswagen Citi. E-mail to a friend