MOSCOW Jan 17 Sales of Volkswagen brand cars in Russia were up by 39.6 percent year-on-year in 2012 to 164,702 units, the company said on Thursday.
The Volkswagen Group, which also includes Skoda, Audi and Seat, in December said it was aiming for a 38 percent rise in Russian sales for 2012 to reach 315,000 units.
The German carmaker is aiming to invest a total of 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in Russia by 2018, initially expanding by building an engine plant in the country's Kaluga region, about 150 km southwest of Moscow.
Russia is expected to overtake Germany to become Europe's largest car market within the decade.
Volkswagen has reported that strong growth in Asia and North America helped push its worldwide sales to 5.74 million units, an increase of 12.7 percent, the company said. ($1 = 0.7521 euros) (Reporting by Moscow Bureau; Editing by Lidia Kelly and Anthony Barker)