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Volkswagen's Skoda 2006 sales hit record on Octavia

Skoda Auto AS, the Czech unit of Volkswagen AG, sold a record number of cars in 2006 on strong performance from its Octavia model.

Sales in 2006 increased 11.7% to 549,667 cars, with 270,274 of them Octavias. Growth of Skoda Auto's sales exceeded that of the overall market, the Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. „The company confirmed its important role on European markets and was able to use its growth potential on Asian markets,” CEO Detlef Wittig said in the statement.

Skoda Auto, which Volkswagen purchased in 1991, posted record earnings in 2005 and said it expects sales to grow in 2007 to 580,000 units. Sales of the Octavia surged 23% in 2006. A total of 243,982 units of the Fabia model, which had been the carmaker's bestseller, were sold, an increase of 3.1%. The company also sold 20,989 Superb large sedans and 14,422 Roomster multipurpose vehicles introduced mid-year.

The Fabia, Octavia and Roomster were the three best-selling cars in the Czech Republic. Skoda was also the top brand in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania. In western Europe, sales grew 9.1% to 301,343 units, led by sales in Germany, the UK, Spain and Austria. In Asia, the company's sales grew 21.1% to 36,541 cars, led by sales in India. Car production also reached a record with 556,443 units built, an increase of almost 13%. (Bloomberg)