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The Volkswagen brand's global sales dropped 2.8 percent last month versus a year ago as a top  official calls 2015 "a challenging year."

The German automaker delivered 507,100 vehicles to customers worldwide in the first month of this year, with sales off in Europe, Asia and South America, the company reported today.

Sales in the North America region grew to 41,800 units, up 5.3 percent, the company said. In the United States, VW reported earlier that sales were slightly up, including those of the Chattanooga-made Passat.

VW is ramping up a $900 million plant expansion in Chattanooga to give it new sport utility vehicle product, with plans to add 2,000 more jobs.

"Deliveries by the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand show we are facing a challenging year. Volkswagen was not immune to the uncertainties in some regions that have continued into the current year," said Christian Klingler, board member for sales and marketing for the Volkswagen Group.

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