Business / Auto Data

Fast forward for VW in car sales league

By Li Fangfang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-15 07:19

Fast forward for VW in car sales league

A Volkswagen vehicle is displayed at a car show in Haikou, Hainan province, in September. Provided to China Daily

China's vehicle market revived last year, surprising analysts with double-digit growth. The year also saw a reversal of fortunes for two global leaders, Li Fangfang reports from Detroit

As China's vehicle sales smashed through the 20 million-unit barrier in 2013, with 17 percent growth after two years of near-stagnancy, a tectonic shift took place with the toppling of the longtime industry sales leader.

Volkswagen AG, the largest vehicle producer in Europe - and the first to tap into the China market almost 30 years ago - regained the top spot in the nation's market from United States-based rival General Motors Co.

GM overtook Volkswagen in 2005 and held the top spot every year thereafter. But in 2013, VW sped ahead.

The combined sales of Volkswagen and its two joint ventures surged 16.2 percent last year to 3.27 million units, including about 214,100 imported vehicles (up 13.2 percent). It was the first time that VW delivered more than 3 million vehicles in a single country.

"Last year was a very successful year for us, and we intend to continue our growth in 2014. We are well-prepared for new challenges in China's auto market," said Jochem Heizmann, who's a VW board member and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group China.

He stressed the group's focus on people in its plan for China, saying: "We will make quality customer service our top priority for 2014, bringing us even closer to our Chinese customers and achieving even greater performance in the market.

"Volkswagen is on the road to becoming the most people-oriented car company in China," Heizmann said.

In June, VW signed an agreement with its local partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (Group) to enhance strategic cooperation, expand the capacity of their plant in Foshan, Guangdong province, and establish a new plant in Changsha, Hunan province.

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