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Audi, Seat recorded sharp jump in August sales ahead of WLTP switch

Volkswagen AG-owned Audi AG posted a 10.9% increase in global sales in August amid increasing demand in all regions, including in Europe, where it received a 21.5% delivery boost ahead of a switch to a new vehicle testing cycle.

The German car brand sold a total of 153,900 vehicles worldwide in August, up from 138,838 units sold in August 2017. For the first eight months of 2018, worldwide sales grew 5.5% year-over-year to 1,268,550 units from 1,202,049 in 2017.

The luxury-car maker sold a total of 60,250 units in Europe, up from 49,581 in the same month last year. The three largest European markets — the U.K., Spain and Germany — saw sales increase 19.5%, 66.1% and 17.7%, respectively, during the month. However, Audi's sales in Italy suffered a 16.9% slump in August. This follows a 21.1% decline in sales in Italy in July.

Volkswagen said Audi's European operations continued to benefit from the extraordinary effect of deliveries of models in stock as part of the switch to the model initiative and the new European WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, which came into effect Sept. 1.

In June, Volkswagen disclosed its plans to temporarily suspend productions at its main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, in the third quarter to cope with the new test cycle.

Sales in mainland China and Hong Kong rose 6% at 57,453 units in August, while sales in the U.S. grew 5.5% year-over-year with 20,907 vehicles sold.

Meanwhile, another Volkswagen unit, Spain-based carmaker SEAT SA, posted a record 38.9% jump in global sales in August, its best August figure in history, according to the release.

SEAT sold a total of 41,200 vehicles worldwide during the month, bringing its total car sales from January to August to 383,900 units.

The Spanish subsidiary also attributed the sales boost in Europe to the implementation of the new WLTP protocol. "A strong sales push forward led to very high volumes in July and August, which is going to affect September's results," SEAT's Vice President for marketing and sales Wayne Griffiths said in a statement.