* Group deliveries to customers rise 41 pct to 538,500 cars
* Ford of Europe sales up 4.2 percent to 105,300 vehicles
* February new car registrations could drop 30 pct - VDIK
(Writes through, adds details, Ford of Europe volumes, VDIK
FRANKFURT, Feb 12 Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) said
a 41 percent rise in January sales volume should not distract
from challenges confronting it later this year when growth rates
are set to tail off sharply as government subsidies run out.
Europe's largest carmaker, which aims to overtake Toyota
Motor Co (7203.T) as industry leader by 2018, delivered 538,500
vehicles to customers last month.
"The situation on international automotive markets remains
tense," said Christian Klingler, Volkswagen's head of group
sales, in a statement on Friday.
Sales to customers of its core VW brand rose 46 percent to
359,300 last month, driven by demand for its Golf and Polo
Skoda brand sales increased 55 percent to 54,100 units,
mainly thanks to a sales surge in China, while even its
struggling Seat brand posted a growth of 23 percent to 24,300
By comparison, Ford of Europe (part of Ford Motor Co (F.N))
said its sales in the continent's core 19 countries rose 4.2
percent to 105,300 in January -- the eighth consecutive month of
"We have to remember though that the market outlook for 2010
is still uncertain, especially with the run-out of some
scrappage schemes in the near future. Our industry forecast is
that the (European) market will be down from the 15.9 million we
saw last year," Ford of Europe sales chief Ingvar Sviggum said
in a statement.
The head of Germany's association for import car brands VDIK
told Reuters new car registrations in February would likely sink
30 percent, now that scrapping schemes in Europe's biggest
economy have run out.
For the current year, registrations could sink by 1 million
to 2.8 million new vehicles in Germany, Volker Lange said in the
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Additional reporting by Jan
Schwartz in Hamburg; Editing by David Holmes)