UPDATE 1-VW says U.S., China sales gains offset Europe drop
* VW group sales up 9.6 pct in first quarter to 2.16 mln
* VW group sales up 12.5 pct in March to record 862,700
* VW group sales drop 4.7 pct in western Europe to 507,100 (Adds regional sales, comment from sales chief)
BERLIN, April 13 (Reuters) - German car maker Volkswagen said group deliveries posted record gains in the first quarter with demand from North America, China and Russia offsetting declining sales in western Europe.
Sales of brands including luxury division Audi and Czech mass market manufacturer Skoda increased 9.6 percent in the first three months of 2012 to 2.16 million units. Deliveries in March alone rose 12.5 percent to a record 862,700.
Europe's biggest auto manufacturer said deliveries of passenger cars and sport-utility vehicles gained 24.5 percent in North America with deliveries in the United States alone surging 34 percent.
China, VW's biggest single market, posted a 15.6 percent gain to 633,900 units while sales in western Europe excluding Germany dropped 4.7 percent to 507,100 autos.
"Uncertainty continues particularly on the markets in western Europe," VW sales chief Christian Klingler said in a statement published on Friday. (Reporting By Andreas Cremer)
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