The Volkswagen Group says it recorded the best ever first half of a year in its history, delivering 5,5 million vehicles to customers worldwide. However, the German firm added that the second half of 2018 would likely be impacted by the implementation of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).

“This was the best ever first half year in our company’s history. Group deliveries increased significantly in all core regions. Our core brands recorded strong growth in the first half year,” said Fred Kappler, head of group sales.

“We expect deliveries in the second half of 2018 to be affected by the introduction of the new WLTP standard. Some vehicles will probably be handed over to customers later than planned,” he added.

This echoes earlier comments from Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess that the brand would face production interruptions at its main plant in Wolfsburg in the third quarter of 2018.

"Within the Volkswagen brand alone, we need to test more than 200 model variants and have them type-approved within a very short space of time,” Diess said in a statement in June, explaining that the new test procedure was “much more complex” and “took much longer”.

The VW Group  – which includes the Volkswagen brand, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Škoda, plus commercial marques Man and Scania – says it delivered more than 2,4 million new vehicles (a year-on-year increase of 6,5 percent) to customers in Europe since the beginning of the year. Deliveries in the North America region, meanwhile, “remained stable”, with 465 000 new vehicles handed over from January to June.

The firm reported a “noticeable reluctance” to buy from consumers in the Chinese market in June (deliveries dropped 2,2 percent), saying this was “attributable to the lower tariffs on imported vehicles”. Still, the Chinese market accounted for just under two million deliveries in the first half of the year, representing 9,2 percent growth.