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December Auto Sales: Volkswagen

HERNDON, Va. (AP) -- Volkswagen of America Inc. said Thursday that U.S. auto sales rose 35 percent in 2012, its best year since 1973, led by big gains for the Passat.

BY THE NUMBERS: VW sold 438,133 vehicles in 2012, up from 324,402 in 2011. For December, sales also rose 35 percent, to 44,005 from 32,502 a year earlier.

TOP SELLERS: Sales of the Passat jumped fivefold to 117,023 from 22,835 in 2011. The company's top U.S. model, the Jetta, declined 4 percent to 170,424 from 177,360 the previous year.

HOT MODELS: Besides the Passat, VW also reported a big increase for the redesigned Beetle, selling 29,174 of them, up from 6,468 in 2011.