FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group said higher sales of battery-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles helped to offset plunging demand in its global markets in 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Global deliveries fell 15 percent to 9.3 million last year, VW said in a statement.
The figure includes sales of the VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands, as well as its VW commercial vehicles, Scania and MAN heavy truck units.
The sales slide slowed in December when deliveries declined 3.2 percent compared with December 2019.
VW Group's Spanish-based Seat brand had the worst sales performance in 2020 with full-year deliveries down 26 percent, followed by Skoda, whose volume fell by 19 percent. VW brand's deliveries dropped by 15 percent, Audi was down 8.3 percent and Porsche was down 3.1 percent.
China, VW Group's biggest market, had the lowest sales decline because the country rebounded from the pandemic faster than the rest of the word. The group's deliveries in China fell 9.1 percent to 4.23 million. Sales in Europe were down 21 percent to 3.6 million. U.S. sales dropped 12 percent to 574,800.
VW Group's sales chief, Christian Dahlheim said the company's strategy to expand its lineup of electrified cars is paying off.
"We are particularly pleased that we hit the ground running in our e-offensive in spite of the pandemic. We will keep up the momentum this year, adding many more attractive electric models," he said in the statement.
Sales of full-electric cars from the group's VW, Audi and Porsche brands rose threefold to 231,600 last year. The ID3 was the group's top-selling battery-powered model, followed by the Audi e-tron. Sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles increased 175 percent to 190,500.