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VW reports 17.4 pct increase in January sales

BERLIN (AP) _ Germany's Volkswagen AG says it started off the year with brisk car sales, as deliveries outside Europe _ particularly in China -- helped more than offset declines in its home market.

Europe's largest automaker said Tuesday overall January sales were up 17.4 percent to 491,900 from 419,100 in January 2012.

European sales dropped 6.8 percent to 116,900 cars from 125,500 the year before. Sales in western Europe, excluding Germany, where several countries are mired in recession, dropped 12.3 percent to 60,600 cars while German sales dropped 3.9 percent to 38,100 cars. Sales in central and eastern Europe rose 8.8 percent to 18,200 cars.

But Asian sales rose 43.7 percent to 251,100 cars _ 235,000 of which were sold in China. North American sales were up 10.6 percent to 43,800.

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