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China stands out in Volkswagen's global sales(11/13/03)

German auto giant Volkswagen AG reported a speedy sales growth of 32.9 percent in the booming Chinese market for the first nine months this year, selling 490,279 vehicles.

    The growing demand in the Chinese auto sector contributed to the group's 26.8 percent sales growth in the Asia-Pacific region, which saw 570,000 vehicles sold from January to September, said a statement from Volkswagen Automobile (China) Investment Co., Ltd..

    Meanwhile, car sales in its traditional European and north American markets shrank by 3.5 percent and 6.3 percent respectively compared with the same period last year. Sales in Canada, for example, dropped by 6.4 percent and in Japan by 7.4 percent, according to the Volkswagen's statement.

    The company, affected by the slow recovery of the world economy, a strong euro plus losses in its Brazilian market, saw a 1.2 percent drop in global auto sales over last year to 3.71 million in the first nine months.

    Despite warnings of overcapacity in China's auto sector, Volkswagen, the biggest automaker in China, is ambitious about expanding in the world's fastest growing economy.

    It announced earlier this year that it planned to increase capacity to one million units by 2007 from 750,000 to 800,000 in the Chinese market and said in July that it would build two more factories to double production by 2008.


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