Volkswagen AG stated on Friday it expects its China sales to decrease a single-digit percent this year as new sport-utility vehicles and premium models help it boost sales after a huge slide in the world’s biggest auto market.
The German automaker sold 1.59 million vehicles in China during the first six months of this year, dropping 17% from 1.92 million units in the same period last year. For all of the last year, Volkswagen sold about 4.23 million vehicles in the nation.
Volkswagen is China’s biggest foreign automaker, after U.S. automaker General Motors.
The country’s total auto sales, which include passenger cars and commercial vehicles, declined 17% in January-June. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has forecast full-year sales to decline by 10% to 20%.
Volkswagen China chief Stephan Woellenstein stated the automaker’s sales in the second half this year will likely be level with the same period last year, though a possible second wave of the coronavirus outbreak lends uncertainty.
The automaker expects the market’s sales of new energy vehicles, which consists of all-battery vehicles and also plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, to reach 1 million units this year, Woellenstein stated during a briefing.
Volkswagen has local joint ventures with SAIC Motor, FAW Group and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, and is building plants based on its MEB platform which it has said allows the efficient production of various electric vehicles models.
Volkswagen stated it would invest 2.1 billion euros ($2.39 billion) in partner JAC and battery company Guoxuan High-tech Co.
Woellenstein said by 2025 Volkswagen prepares to have 15 MEB-based electric models of different brands in China. It is building its own electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the cities of the country.
The automaker expects slight growth in China’s premium car segment this year. A document showed it plans to renovate plants with SAIC to make new Audi sedans.