Buoyant VW predicts 10pc growth in China
VOLKSWAGEN has forecast that its sales in China will increase by 10pc or more |this year, making it the second-straight year that |the German carmaker will outsell General Motors in |the world's biggest car market.
VW expects ‘double-digit’ growth in China from last year's record, delivering more than 3.5 million vehicles to the country, chief executive Martin Winterkorn said.
Though he didn't specifically refer to GM, which sold about 110,000 fewer vehicles than VW in China last year, the Detroit-based company said in February it would keep up with a market that's poised to grow by 8pc to 10pc.
For China's two-biggest foreign carmakers, the competition is intensifying in the country and the battle-lines are shifting toward smaller cities as the economy slows and anti-pollution measures spread.
That's prompting firms such as VW to GM to customise more car features catered to Chinese tastes and speed up the introduction of new models into the country.
“We're certainly seeing cities in China place restrictions, there are pressures on the infrastructure, there are pollution issues,” Finbarr O'Neill, president of JD Power and Associates, said in an interview.
“But as a whole, the growth throughout China in the tier three and four cities, in the west, and the aspiring middle class, assures continued growth for the automotive industry.”
VW, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker is planning to increase its number of dealerships in China to more than 3,600 by 2018, up 50pc from now, the company said.
VW said it will also introduce a range of low-to zero-emission models to meet rising demand for such cars in the country, starting with the e-Up! and e-Golf this year, followed by models such as the Audi A3 E-Tron plug-in hybrid.
“We will intensify our customer orientation even further so that we can respond even faster and more flexibly to our customers' wishes – particularly here in China,” Mr Winterkorn added. (Bloomberg)