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VW sales down in US, China

VW brand sales are down by 2.2 percent globally for the first four months of the year.

Volkswagen has reported strong growth in Europe for the first four months of the year, however the picture isn't as rosy in the world's largest auto market.

"So far this year, Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand achieved its strongest growth in Europe," sales and marketing head Christian Klingler said in a statement. "However, developments in the global market situation remain mixed. Russia and the South America region in particular continue to require our full attention."

Sales of VW-badged vehicles were down by 2.2 percent to 1.98 million units for the first third of the year, sliding by 4.8 percent during the month of April. Deliveries fell by 2.4 percent in China and dropped by 7.5 percent in the US market through April. Russia appears to have been the worst market with a 47-percent falloff, while Brazil sales declined by 23.8 percent.

The lackluster performance contrasts against Audi, which reported a 2.5-percent increase in global sales last month -- surpassing BMW to become the best-selling luxury brand.

The trouble at VW is believed to have sparked the leadership dispute that put chief executive Martin Winterkorn's future in question and led to the resignation of long-serving chairman Ferdinand Piech. The embattled CEO came out on top, but promised to restructure the company to improve performance.

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