BERLIN -- German automaker Volkswagen AG says its 2012 group sales hit a record high as growing demand around the world more than offset sluggish sales in Europe.

It says Monday that more than nine million vehicles were delivered for the first time. The total of 9.07 million was up 11.2 per cent from the 8.16 million delivered in 2011. December sales were also up 20.7 per cent over the same month last year.

Geographically, North American sales spiked 26.2 per cent to 841,500 vehicles, while those in South America rose 8.2 per cent to 1.01 million. Asia-Pacific sales were 23.3 per cent higher at 3.17 million.

Those increases helped offset a 6.5 per cent drop in western Europe, excluding Germany, to 1.85 million vehicles. German sales rose 1.9 per cent to 1.18 million vehicles.