Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Volkswagen says China sales reached record high in 2010

AFP, SHANGHAI and BEIJING

German automaker Volkswagen said its sales in China, the world’s biggest vehicle market, soared 37 percent year-on-year last year to an annual record of more than 1.9 million cars.

In a statement on Friday, Volkswagen Group China said it would invest 10.6 billion euros (US$13.7 billion) from this year to 2015 to maintain and reinforce its position in the country.

“In 2010, growth in the Chinese automobile market has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China said. “Although the growth of the car market might cool down in 2011, we still expect a good performance in the next years.”

Europe’s largest car maker said the new investment to expand plants and develop new products marked its biggest cash injection yet in China.

Volkswagen is the No. 2 foreign car maker in China after US rival General Motors, which set an annual record of 2.35 million vehicle sales in China last year, a 28.8 percent year-on-year jump.

US automaker Ford also said on Friday that its sales in China soared 40 percent year-on-year last year to an annual record of 582,467 units.

The strong growth was driven by sales of the Focus and Fiesta brands, Ford said.

“We are grateful to our partners and Chinese consumers for yet another year of record growth in one of the world’s most dynamic markets,” Ford Motor China chief executive Joe Hinrichs said in a statement.

Ford said its passenger car joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile saw sales rise 34 percent year-on-year last year to 403,283.

Ford did not provide a forecast for this year. Sales, however, could be affected as China withdraws stimulus measures introduced to cushion the impact of the global economic downturn.

The Chinese government raised the purchase tax for small passenger cars to 10 percent starting this year, ending an incentive policy that helped the nation overtake the US as the world’s top auto market in 2009.

The country’s auto sales totaled 16.4 million units for the first 11 months of last year, up 34.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Total sales were likely to reach 18 million units last year, a 32 percent jump from 2009, and to grow a steadier 10 percent this year, it said.

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