Volkswagen Group China said Friday that it sold a record 2.26 million vehicles in China, including Hong Kong, in 2011 an increase of 17.7% from a year earlier.

Jan. 13, 2012

By Andrew Galbraith

–Volkswagen Group China says sales rose 17.7% in China, including Hong Kong, in 2011

–German carmaker’s growth outpaced those of rival GM and industry

–Strong growth for Volkswagen, Audi brands

–Company expects “tougher conditions” in the car industry

–Will focus more on western China; new Chengdu plant

(Recasts lede, adds performance of GM and industry in third paragraph, additional sales information of Volkswagen’s brands in fifth paragraph.)

SHANGHAI (MarketWatch) — Volkswagen AG and its China joint ventures outpaced competitors in China due to strong sales of the Volkswagen- and Audi-brand vehicles.

Volkswagen Group China said Friday that it sold a record 2.26 million vehicles in China, including Hong Kong, in 2011 an increase of 17.7% from a year earlier.

In comparison, General Motors (GM) said last week that together with its China joint ventures, sales in China rose 8.3% to 2.55 million vehicles in 2011, also a record. Volkswagen also outperformed the broader industry; the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported Thursday that auto sales in the country, including both passenger and commercial vehicles, grew 2.5% in 2011 to 18.51 million vehicles. Passenger vehicle sales at the industry level rose 5.2% to 14.5 million vehicles.

Sales of Volkswagen-brand cars rose 13.8% last year to 1.72 million vehicles in China including Hong Kong, the carmaker said. Sales of Audi cars gained 37% to 313,000 vehicles.

The company said its Skoda brand reported sales of 220,100 vehicles for the year, without providing a year-earlier figure. The company said it sold 1,780 Bentley and 403 Lamborghini vehicles, again without providing year-earlier sales numbers.

Karl-Thomas Neumann, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China, said in a statement that the company expects “tougher conditions” in the car industry, without elaborating.

Volkswagen Group China will focus more on developing sales in western China following the opening of a plant in Chengdu, the statement added.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/volkswagen-2011-china-sales-outpace-competitors-2012-01-13