Volkswagen AG has revealed that its sales in Hong Kong and China rose 18 percent in 2011 to a record figure, thanks to the deliveries of Sagitar and Lavida sedans and the demand for Audi luxury vehicles. The VW Group sold 2.26 million units in the two markets last year. The Group also owns the Skoda and Bentley brands, and is considered the biggest automaker in Europe.
General Motors Co., which is China's largest foreign automaker, boosted sales in the country by 8.3 percent in 2011 to a record 2.55 million units. Volkswagen is betting on China, which is the most populous country in the world, to boost growth in emerging markets while it aims to outperform Toyota Motor Corp. and GM in the worldwide sales race by 2018 or sooner.
Currently, China is VW brand's largest market. The nation is also the biggest market for luxury brands Lamborghini and Audi. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of VW's China subsidiary, stated that they want to keep their leading market position in the country despite tougher conditions for the vehicle industry being expected. He added that a "great potential" is seen for an expansion in the country's rural areas where millions of people will benefit from "better mobility."
The vehicle sales in China slowed in 2011, trailing growth in the U.S. for the first time in more than 14 years, after the government stopped incentives and the economic expansion of the country has showed signs of easing. Growth in the demand for passenger vehicles in China will increase this year to around 9.5 percent, or around 15.87 million units, from the 5.2 percent growth last year, according to the auto association.