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Volkswagen powers to the top of Chinese sales

On top: It might be old under the skin, but the VW Lavida had what it takes to seize the sales crown in China in 2013.

One in three VW Group vehicles sold in China as German company smashes records

16 Jan 2014

VOLKSWAGEN served up three of the top four best-selling passenger cars in China last year as it leapfrogged General Motors into Chinese market leadership with a company record 3.27 million sales.

Chinese sales accounted for one in three vehicles delivered by VW Group globally in 2013, with world sales across its multiple brands topping 9.7 million vehicles, up almost five per cent on 2012.

The VW Group’s Chinese performance – which included 411,730 Chinese-made Audis and a growing number of Porsches – helped to propel Chinese auto industry sales to a record 21,984,100 units, up 13.9 per cent on 2012 and the greatest motor sales performance of any country in history.

The German company’s return to market leadership in China after playing second fiddle to GM for several years came despite an 11 per cent jump in sales of GM group vehicles, to 3,160,377 – a record for the American giant.

The Volkswagen Lavida – a China-only small sedan based on the platform of the superseded Golf VI – was the top-selling passenger car in the market, finding 374,056 new homes last year.

Built by VW partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), the Lavida showed a clean pair of heels to GM’s Cruze-based Buick Excelle, also built by SAIC under GM’s separate partnership arrangement.

Two other VW small sedans made it into the top four. They were the VW Sagitar (based on a superseded VW Jetta) and latest VW Jetta.

80 center imageFrom top: Volkswagen Sagitar, Emgrand EC7 and Buick Excelle.

The top 13 passenger cars on the Chinese market were all sold under foreign badges such as VW, Buick, Chevrolet, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai, with the top-selling Chinese-brand car – Geely’s Emgrand EC7 – managing 14th place, on 193,210 units.

The Chinese car-makers fared better in SUV sales, with Great Wall’s Haval H6 topping the sales list with 217,889 units, ahead of the VW Tiguan (199,792) and Honda CR-V (199,333).

Audi – the car of choice for Chinese well-to-do and government officials – was again luxury sales leader, with 411,730 sales, which was more than double BMW’s 207,327 units and way up on Mercedes-Benz’s 123,600 sales.

While Chinese domestic vehicle sales grew in 2013, exports fell by 7.5 per cent, slipping below 2012’s record one million units to 977,330.

Leading exporter Chery was particularly hard hit, with overseas deliveries falling 28 per cent.

The export performance is a blow for China’s overseas sales aspirations, which are critical for its plans to become a true global car manufacturing power.

Chinese car brands were noticeably absent from this week’s Detroit motor show, although some – such as Qoros and MG – are planning to be at the Geneva motor show in March.

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