Volkswagen's 2019 vehicle deliveries slightly above 2018

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen Group VOWG_p.DE said on Thursday its vehicle deliveries last year were slightly above the previous year's level, revising up an earlier forecast which predicted 2019 sales would be level with the year before.

In 2018, the multi-brand car and trucks maker, which owns the Scania, MAN, Lamborghini, Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Bugatti brands, delivered 10.8 million vehicles to customers.

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess issued the revised forecast during an investor presentation in New York. The group reiterated it expected an operating return on sales of between 6.5% and 7.5% before special items for last year.

Volkswagen is due to release 2019 earnings on March 17.

The group also said it would invest 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion)to create a dedicated software organisation to raise in-house software development to 60% from 10%.

The new software organisation starts operation in January 2020, according to a presentation on Volkswagen’s website.

($1 = 0.8998 euros)

Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Edward Taylor; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Mark Potter