The biggest European carmaker, Volkswagen, said on Jan. 7 that Chinese sales hit a record 1.4 million vehicles in 2009 in what is now its most important market.
The figure represented a leap of 36.7% from the 2008 figure of 1.02 million, adding that "2009 has been an extraordinary year. "The automotive market went beyond everybody's expectations," it said.
The group sold 1.12 million VW brand cars in China, along with nearly 159,000 high-end Audi models and 122,500 less expensive Skodas.
"We are full of confidence for 2010 (and) expecting a growth rate of 10% to 15% for the total automotive market in China," said Winfried Vahland, chief executive of Volkswagen Group China.
Last year, VW also sold 600 so-called supercars in China, including 484 Bentleys and 118 Lamborghinis.
VW owns 10 brands in all, including its most recently acquired one, Porsche.
The group plans to launch seven new locally-produced models in China this year, and invest more than four billion euros there in the next three years.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010