Volkswagen says China sales hit record in 2010
German automaker Volkswagen said its sales in China, the world's biggest vehicle market, soared 37 percent year-on-year in 2010 to an annual record of more than 1.9 million cars.
In a statement on Friday Volkswagen Group China said it would invest 10.6 billion euros ($13.7 billion) from 2011 to 2015 to maintain and reinforce its position in the country.
"In 2010, growth in the Chinese automobile market has exceeded everyone's expectations", Karl-Thomas Neumann, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China said.
"Although the growth of the car market might cool down in 2011, we still expect a good performance in the next years," he added.
Europe's largest car maker said the new investment to expand plants and develop new products marked its biggest cash injection yet in China.
Volkswagen is the number two foreign car maker in China after US rival General Motors, which set an annual record of 2.35 million vehicle sales in China last year, a 28.8 percent year-on-year jump.
Neumann said Volkswagen was in a strong position to maintain sales growth in China in 2011, when it will introduce its first electric cars with the Volkswagen logo in the country.
Automakers expect market growth to slow this year as China withdraws stimulus measures introduced to cushion the impact of the global economic downturn.
The government raised the purchase tax for small passenger cars to 10 percent starting this year, ending an incentive policy that helped the nation overtake the United States as the world's top auto market in 2009.
The country's auto sales totalled 16.4 million units for the first 11 months of 2010, up 34.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Total sales were likely to reach 18 million units for 2010, a 32 percent jump from 2009, and to grow a steadier 10 percent this year, it said.
© 2011 AFP