VW Widens ‘07 China Passenger Car Sales Lead Over GM
January 11, 2008
Volkswagen AG widened its lead in China over General Motors Corp. with 28 percent growth in sales. As such, the German automaker is pleased to have maintained its post as China's largest passenger car maker in 2007.
VW outsold Detroit-based rival General Motors by 431,064 passenger cars in 2007, compared with 298,507 in 2006. In China, VW’s sales increased to 910,491 units, exceeding its sales target of 900,000.
General Motors, meanwhile, through its passenger car joint venture, Shanghai General Motors Corp., sold 479,427 vehicles in China last year. The figure is up 16.9 percent.
Sales of locally made passenger cars, including sport utilities and MPVs, likely increased 20.7 percent in 2007, according to an estimate from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers in December.
Although General Motors sold a record 1.03 million passenger and commercial vehicles last year, growth slowed from the previous year. In 2006, sales at Shanghai GM were up 26.8 percent, reported CNN. Sales at General Motors' commercial vehicle joint venture with SAIC and Wuling Motors, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., increased 20.1 percent to 548,945 units in 2007, the report added. A year earlier, sales had surged 36.5 percent.
A statement from General Motors divulged that brisk demand encourages the sales increases. However, the said statement did not respond to the growth slowdown concern.
"In order to keep up with market demand, we plan to add to what is already the largest product lineup with the rollout of several additional models in 2008," said GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale. "At the same time, we wills continue to strengthen our investment in new facilities and technology.
The maker of VW Golf air filter has two joint car manufacturing ventures in China. The first is with state-owned China FAW Group, called FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co., and the other with SAIC Motor Corp., called Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co.
This year the German automaker expects sales to surge 15 percent to 20 percent. "We want to grow with the market," noted Kai Grueber, VW spokesperson.
Separately, VW, with tight global competition in mind, teams up with Sanyo to produce a hybrid battery system. Martin Winterkorn, the automaker’s boss, earlier confirmed VW’s plans to build compact hybrids. Also underway at VW's Braunschweig R&D facilities in Northern Germany is a hybrid Touareg set to arrive by 2010.
“Future VW models will fundamentally also be constructed with hybrid concepts,” Ulrich Hackenberg, VW head of development, told Automobilwoche. Hackenberg added the car will be based on the Up! concept which was recently displayed at the Frankfurt motor show.
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