China poised to overtake Germany as Volkswagen's No.1 market

Major automakers around the world are looking towards India and China to shore up their balance sheets even as sales continue to fall in developed nations.

German auto manufacturer Volkswagen, which recently launched its second vehicle in India, has declared that it expects China to be its No1 market in 2008, surpassing even its home market where it enjoys a huge market share. Coming from the No 3 global automaker, this statement speaks volumes of the vehicular growth in China. (See: Volkswagen launches Jetta in India)

While sales slowed in June, Volkswagen Group still projects it will sell just over 1 million cars in China this year, slightly more than in Germany, Automotive News Europe reported Sunday.

"The one million figure is still on," Jorg Mull, executive vice president of the finance department for Volkswagen Group China, told Automotive News Europe. "The market will hit at least 15 percent growth this year, even though overall Chinese growth has slowed a bit."

VW rang up 531,614 sales in China in the first six months, up 23.2 per cent from the year-ago period. In Germany, it sold 534,390 units, an increase of 3.7 per cent.

Volkswagen, which sells VW, Audi and Skoda cars in China, has a 19.1 per cent market share in the Asian nation and is the largest foreign automaker in the country. The company, via its Volkswagen Group China subsidiary has thirteen joint ventures in China, with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), and First Automobile Works (FAW) being the two major Chinese partner companies.