BERLIN -- Volkswagen says global sales were 1.2 per cent lower in February than a year earlier, with higher deliveries in Europe offset by drops in the U.S., South America and China as it grapples with its emissions-rigging scandal.

The company said Friday that the Volkswagen Group, whose brands include Audi, Skoda and Porsche, delivered 693,300 vehicles last month. That compared with 701,500 a year earlier.

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Sales in Europe were up 5.7 per cent at 312,000 while deliveries in the U.S., where the emissions scandal started, dropped 7.2 per cent to 37,700. A 26 per cent drop in South America was led by lower sales in Brazil, and Volkswagen pointed to that country's "challenging" economic situation.

Chinese sales declined 1.8 per cent to 227,400 vehicles. Volkswagen said the figures were affected by the late Chinese new year.