Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen said Friday that worldwide sales of its own-brand cars were down 1.3 percent in the first three months of this year, with gains seen only in the Asia-Pacific region and in central and eastern Europe.
Volkswagen, currently entrenched in a massive engine-rigging scandal, said in a statement that it sold 1.459 million VW-brand vehicles in the period from January to March, down from 1.479 million a year earlier.
"Mixed regional market developments are reflected in our delivery figures," said Juergen Stackmann, head of sales at the VW brand.
"While Volkswagen Passenger Cars recorded the best delivery performance ever in China in the first quarter, the trend in South America in particular continues to decline," Stackmann said.
In the group's home market of Germany, VW delivered a total 138,700 of its own-brand cars to customers in the January-March period, 3.8 percent fewer than a year earlier.
VW, which owns 12 brands in all, from Audi and Porsche to Lamborghini, Skoda and SEAT, was plunged into its deepest-ever crisis last September when it emerged it had installed emissions-cheating software into 11 million diesel engines worldwide.
It is currently battling to count the still incalculable costs from the scandal and is potentially facing many billions of euros in fines and compensation claims.
VW had at one time hoped to overtake Japanese rival Toyota as the world's biggest carmaker in terms of sales, but the scandal has tarnished its reputation.
And sales were down in almost all regions in the first quarter of 2016.
Western European sales fell by 0.5 percent, North American sales were down by 6.5 percent and South American sales plunged by as much as 31.3 percent in the three-month period, VW said.
Only in eastern and central Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region was the group able to notch up gains of 2.1 percent and 4.8 percent respectively, with sales in China climbing by 6.5 percent.
That was "the best quarterly performance in the first three months since the company entered the the Chinese market over 30 years ago," VW said.