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Volkswagen poised to regain Chinese sales crown

Cracking drive: Volkswagen’s Golf will give the German company strong sales drive into 2014 in China, where it appears to have sales victory in the bag.

Chinese vehicle sales crack 20 million barrier as VW eclipses GM in 2013

27 Dec 2013

GERMAN car-maker Volkswagen is poised to outsell American rival General Motors in China and take the calendar-year sales crown in the world’s auto biggest market for the first time in nine years.

Both automotive giants have already racked up three million sales each in China for the first time, with Volkswagen becoming the first company in Chinese history to do so, early in December, and GM following about a week later, according to Bloomberg.

In the 11 months to the end of November, sales of VW Group vehicles – including Audi – were up 16.7 per cent, giving VW a lead of about 70,000 sales over GM with one month to go.

The strong sales performance across the Chinese auto industry has pushed motor vehicle sales beyond 20 million already this year, making China the first country to achieve this landmark.

At the current running rate, the Chinese market could see out 2013 with a record 21.5 million sales, representing an increase of about 11 per cent over the previous year.

In 2012, 19.3 million motor vehicles were sold in China, up a modest – by Chinese standards – 4.3 per cent on 2011. Back in 2009, Chinese market vehicle sales rose 46 per cent in a year.

VW was one of the pioneers of the Chinese automotive industry, partnering with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) and First Auto Works (FAW) to blaze a path followed by most of the world’s major motor manufacturers.

GM – also partnered with SAIC – quickly rose to prominence with brands such as Buick, taking market leadership in 2004.

Both car companies believe they are yet to reach their potential in China, announcing multi-billion-dollar investments in plant expansions and model development to meet growing demand that is expected to accelerate in 2014.

VW has just launched its all-new Golf in China, and will add the sedan version of the Audi A3 soon, giving the German company the whip hand in its efforts to go back to back at the top of the market in 2014.

Ford has been one of the big winners in China this year, with year-to-date sales up 51 per cent to the end of November to a record 840,975 vehicles, aided by its Focus compact, which was China's best-selling car this year.

Japanese manufacturers are gradually recovering from a Chinese consumer backlash from the dispute between Japan and China over islands between the two nations, with Toyota selling 809,000 units, up 8.0 per cent.

Nissan said it had sold 1.13 million vehicles in China in the year to date, up 13.1 per cent on the same period of last year.

Best of all for Nissan, its Sylphy (Pulsar) small car was the number one seller in the Chinese passenger car market in November, outpointing regular winners such as the Buick Excelle, Chevrolet Cruze and VW Jetta.

Nissan’s partner Renault is also set to join the fray in China, recently signing a manufacturing deal with Dongfeng Auto – the same joint venture partner as Nissan’s – for cars to be built from the second half of next year.

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