WOLFSBURG — Volkswagen (IW 1000/10), Europe's biggest carmaker, said Thursday that it planned to open seven more factories in China, as it confirmed record net profits for 2012 and voiced optimism for next year.

"In the coming years, we will build at least 10 new factories, seven of those in China alone," VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn told reporters as the firm released its annual earnings statement.

From 2016, VW expects to churn out up to 300,000 vehicles per year in these Chinese factories, taking advantage of the world's fastest growing car market.

Despite "headwinds, particularly in Europe," Winterkorn said he was "fundamentally confident" for the future of his firm and forecast a rise in operating profit for 2014.

Last year, VW registered a record net profit of 21.7 billion euros (US $28.11 billion), a gain of nearly 41% compared with the previous period.

Overall turnover roared ahead 21% to 192.7 billion euros.

Investors appeared unimpressed by the results -- which confirmed initial figures released in February -- driving down the value of Volkswagen stock on the DAX index of leading German shares.

In mid-morning trade, Volkswagen was the worst performer on the DAX, dropping 3.45% compared to the wider market which was up 0.60%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013