Volvo saw a decline in vehicle sales in 2012, according to figures released by the company this week. The Swedish carmaker sold just under 422,000 cars during the year, a 6.1% year-over-year decline from 2011's figure. The firm attributed this mainly to challenging economic conditions in Europe and the phase-out of certain models.

The company did see a slight uptick in sales in its largest market, the U.S.. It sold 68,079 vehicles here during the year, or approximately 1% more than in 2011. But sales were down 11% in its native Sweden (to 51,832 cars), and they fell by a similar percentage in the crucial foreign market of China, where sales reached almost 42,000 units. A new manufacturing plant in Chengdu is expected to be up and running in the second half of 2013.

For 2013, Volvo, once a subsidiary of Ford (NYSE:F), expects competition to "continue to be as fierce as in 2012". It did not provide information as to the sales it expects for this year.

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