China overtakes US as biggest customer for VW's luxury vehicles
Updated: 2012-10-04 07:40
By Fu Jing in Wolfsburg, Germany (China Daily)
China has increasingly replaced the United States as the biggest market for luxury vehicles related to Germany's Volkswagen Group, a senior analyst said.
Sales of vehicles in China from Bentley Motors Ltd and Porsche SE in China are expected to surpass those in the US this year, said Jimmy Jin, head of Market Intelligence China and ASEAN, at Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Bentley is a VW subsidiary, and Porsche owns a controlling stake in VW.
The development comes after sales in China of vehicles from VW Group subsidiary Lamborghini SpA topped US sales in 2011.
"The luxury brands sell well these years in China because of new wealth," Jin told China Daily on the sideline of a Chinese business delegation's visit to Germany.
Lamborghini sales this year might be the same as last, at about 400 units, Jin said.
As for Bentleys, China sales have increased tenfold within the past several years, Jin said. "China will overtake the US to become the No 1 market of Bentleys this year," said Jin, adding that sales will reach 2,300 units this year, up from 1,779 in 2011.
In 2011, the top three markets for Bentleys were the US, China and the UK.
As for Porsche, China might replace the US as the top market for this brand if sales reach 31,000 units this year, Jin said. In 2011, the top three countries were the US, China and Germany.
VW had the fastest growth rate in the Chinese market from January through August, with 1.7 million vehicles delivered.
The growth has led VW's market share in China to rise to 20.4 percent during the January-to-August period, followed by the General Motors Co at 10 percent.
Jin said the sales of major Volkswagen Group brands is expected to surpass 2 million annually. "This goal will be achieved definitely," said Jin.
If Volkswagen Group attains that goal, it will represent a sales growth of 22 percent compared with 2011. In 2009, sales reached 1.15 million, while in 2006, the total was 627,801.
"This is how important the Chinese market is for us," said Jin.
Jin is also confident about the performance of Audi AG, another VW Group subsidiary, whose vehicles are used mainly for governmental and business procurement. He predicted that sales of Audis in China will surpass 400,000 this year, gaining a 30 percent annual increase from 2011.
Jin said Audi sales in China have grown "very rapidly" these years, which have witnessed financial crisis in 2008-09 and unfolding European sovereign debt crisis. In 2006, sales were only 81,700.