Volkswagen sees its China sales to follow the market’s trend, as it prospects a potential partnership with another local automaker.
After suffering its first full-year drop in 2015 and a 5 percent decrease in December, Volkswagen Group sales returned to growth in January, helped by the Chinese market positive results. Its core brand reported sales dropped in all regions in the first month of the year, except in China, where the passenger car division scored a 15 percent rise in demand. And as a perspective for the whole year, the head of the German automaker’s China branch, Jochem Heizmann, recently said that he expected China’s total passenger car market to expand in line with, or perhaps even exceed, gross domestic product growth in the world’s second-largest economy. “If we look to the general growth situation, it’s still tremendous, big growth,” Heizmann said. Despite the current slow pace of the economy, there is still room for further expansion, as there is great potential in the country’s smaller cities. “These are still cities with millions of inhabitants but in a different development stage,” he added. Volkswagen intends to keep its investment strategy for the coming years, planning to spend around 4 billion euros ($4.46 billion) annually.
Heizmann also said that Volkswagen is in talks with the small local maker JAC Motors for a potential partnership, but he did not want to reveal what type of vehicles could be produced as a result of an upcoming cooperation. Volkswagen currently has two joint ventures in China and is planning to increase its local workforce and reach 120,000 employees by 2019, from the current staff of 90,000.