Berlin - Porsche has turned in the most successful half year in its corporate history thanks to its Macan SUV, and surging demand in its biggest market - China.

A key profit driver for the Volkswagen group, Porsche said on Tuesday that worldwide deliveries climbed by 7 percent to 126 497 vehicles in the six months to the end of June compared with the same period in 2016.

Porsche's announcement comes as it is drawn deeper into the emissions test scandal that has engulfed the VW group, with German prosecutors saying on Monday that they had launched an investigation into employees of Porsche and a US associate company over a possible involvement in the affair.

The scandal emerged in September 2015 when VW admitted to cheating on emissions tests on about 11 million diesel-powered vehicles around the world.

While the Macan remained Porsche's key pillar of growth, the Stuttgart-based carmaker said sales of its new Panamera raced ahead by 54 percent in the first six months of the year. Macan deliveries rose by 11 percent to reach 50 000, the company said.

China, which is the world's biggest car market, is also now Porsche's largest single market with first-half deliveries rising by 18 percent to 35 864 vehicles in the period between January and June.

While US sales rose 3 percent, sales were up 6 percent in Europe. Deliveries edged up by 1 percent in Porsche's home market in Germany.

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