German carmaker Audi sees an 11-percent growth in sales in China in 2013 to around 450,000 units, boosted by rising incomes and its expansion into smaller cities in the country, according to chief executive Rupert Stadler.
Stadler is in Foshan, China, where Audi is constructing its second plant in the country. Audi sold 405,838 vehicles in China in 2012, leading all carmakers in terms of sales in the country. Audi's expansion in China, is crucial to helping parent Volkswagen Group reach its goal of surpassing General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. as largest carmaker in the world by 2018. Audi posted an 18-percent gain in sales in China in the first six months of 2013 to 228,139 deliveries.
Stadler noted that in China, “a lot of entrepreneurs are coming into the market, the purchasing power is increasing, people are getting a little bit more rich."
He remarked Audi has been "very strong" in north China, in Shanghai and in Beijing, but has missed many opportunities in the south. He said that Audi will focus a big part of its expansion in south China by opening dealerships in cities with populations of 1-2 million people.
Up next for Audi’s expansion is west China, Stadler said. With the new Foshan plant and added capacity at Changchun site, Audi will have the capacity to build up to 700,000 vehicles in China annually in three to four years.