Volkswagen is poised to once again become the largest foreign carmaker in China this year, ousting General Motors. VW held the top spot for nine years. Both carmakers have already hit their targets to sell over 3 million vehicles in China in 2013. Volkswagen achieved the feat on Dec. 5 while GM topped the target a week later.
In the first 11 months of 2013, VW had been leading by around 70,000 vehicles against GM, after posting a 17-percent surge in sales to 2.96 million vehicles. Its namesake brand accounted for nearly 80 percent of the figure.
VW’s other brands include Skoda, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Seat. Jochem Heizmann, president and chief executive of VW’s China operations, told Bloomberg in November that they could have sold more if not for the capacity problems that the carmaker is currently experiencing.
That month, VW disclosed that it will spend EUR18.2 billion ($25 billion) through 2018 to expand its operations in China.
Volkswagen's Audi remains the top-selling luxury marque in China and is planning to sell the A3 compact sedan and a new A4 in 2014, according to John Zeng, managing director of market researcher LMC Automotive.
Rivalry in China is expected to stiffen in 2014 as top European and American carmakers have announced a combined $36 billion in investment in the country. "China is the big battleground," said Klaus Paur, head of automotive at Ipsos, adding that at the same time, “there's a risk of an over-dependence on the Chinese market.”