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Volkswagen Goes Big With C-Coupe GTE

Chinese-only model hints at new Phaeton flagship to come.

by on Apr.20, 2015

Volkswagen C Coupe GTE made its debut in Shanghai. The model will be VW's flagship in China.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Chinese motorists had to wait to see the debut of products already on sale in other parts of the world. These days, a growing number of manufacturers are introducing some of their newest products first in China, the world’s largest automotive market.

And more than a few of these vehicles will – at least initially – only be offered for sale in the booming Asian nation. That’s the case with the next-generation Ford Taurus, as well as the new Volkswagen C Coupe GTE that is making its debut at this week’s Shanghai Motor Show.

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Measuring a full 200 inches in length, with a 76-inch width, this is no Beetle or Golf, but a car aimed for premium buyers who might not want to go all the way up to an Audi. Indeed, the C Coupe is the first model from Volkswagen to share the larger MLB “architecture” primarily designed for the Audi brand, rather than VW’s smaller MQB. (more…)

Volkswagen Adds to Sales Lead Over GM in China

by on Oct.13, 2014

GM's sales in China, in which Cadillac is critical, are up 11.6%, but still trail Volkswagen's results.

The automotive sales race in China is a neck-and-neck affair, but the Volkswagen Group continues to hold a lead of about 140,000 units over rival General Motors. Other makers that were expecting to see strong results there – namely Ford and Nissan – have fallen off the pace a bit in recent months.

Volkswagen reported its sales have increased 15% to 2.72 million units through Sept. 30, making China the company’s single largest global market. Sales were strong during September when the German maker delivered 2.72 million units in China, marking a 15.2% increase.

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GM and its Chinese joint ventures reported a 15.2% increase in September as well. For the first nine months, GM’s sales totaled 2.58 million vehicles, up 11.6% from the same period a year earlier. (more…)

China’s Lack of Brand Loyalty Helping German Automakers

Study shows buyers looking to upgrade plan to buy German cars.

by on Sep.18, 2014

Buyers in China looking for a luxury brand lean toward German makers, such as BMW.

Chinese consumers are proving as fickle as their counterparts in the United States, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group, and that may be good news for German car brands there.

Roughly 40% of the owners of cars from Chinese makers planning to trade their vehicle for a global or “foreign” brand said they intend to buy a Volkswagen model. Nearly 90% of foreign volume-brand owners who are trading up said they are likely to buy an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz, according to the group, known as BCG.

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China remains the world’s largest automobile market with sales expected to top 21 million units this year, dwarfing sales in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, the industry’s traditional key markets. (more…)

Volkswagen Investing $2.7 Billion in China

Two new plants add to plans for $27 billion investment.

by on Jul.07, 2014

VW will launch the e-Golf and an assortment of other battery-based vehicles in China.

Volkswagen stoked the competitive fires today in the race to become the top auto brand in China by announcing plans to invest $2.7 billion to build two plants in the country.

The investment is in addition to the previously announced plans to plow about $27 billion into the country by 2018. VW last year nudged past archrival General Motors to become the largest automaker in China.

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“China has become our largest and most important market,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of VW’s board of management. “To satisfy the demands of our customers in the country, we are engaging in a further substantial expansion of our capacities in China together with our Chinese partner FAW Volkswagen.” (more…)

GM Sells More Vehicles in China than US Again

Maker sells nearly 3.2 million units, but VW expected to be No. 1.

by on Jan.08, 2014

The new Cadillac XTS gets a splashy launch during China's annual auto show. GM once again sold more vehicles in China than the U.S.

General Motors once again sold more cars in China than it did in the United States as the automaker and its Chinese partners shipped nearly 3.2 million vehicles to customers there, while predicting further growth in China during 2014.

“We expect vehicle sales to remain robust in 2014, driven by ongoing strong demand across China for personal four-wheel transportation,” said Matt Tsien, president of GM China. “GM will further expand our lineup of vehicles and services to remain in step with our customers nationwide.”

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Supported by strong demand for all of their major brands, GM and its joint ventures sold a record 3,160,377 vehicles in China in 2013. Sales increased 11.4% from 2012. GM sold an average of one vehicle every 10 seconds and almost 9,000 each day in China. By comparison, GM sold a total of 2,786,078 vehicles in the U.S. last year. (more…)

GM, VW Battle for Dominance in China

Chinese market regains momentum after showing signs of a slump.

by on Oct.14, 2013

VW is well established in China's Pacific Crescent - but now it wants to target emerging regions of the country to maintain its growth.

Volkswagen AG and General Motors are locked in a bitter duel over sales leadership in China with the edge going to VW during the first nine months of the year.

With China now the world’s largest automotive market, dominance means more than bragging rights. GM already sells more vehicles in the populous Asian nation than in the U.S., and China promises to be a major factor in the bottom line results of most automotive manufacturers going forward.

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VW’s sales in China for the first nine months of 2013 rose 18% to 2.35 million cars and sport-utility vehicles through the end of September. The maker of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles is relying on growth in China to offset slumping demand in Europe, where sales are set to drop for a sixth straight year, and reach its goal of overtaking both GM and Toyota to become the world’s largest automaker.


Battling to Maintain Sales Lead, VW Heads to Undeveloped China

New plant in Xinjiang is maker’s 102nd worldwide.

by on Aug.30, 2013

VW is well established in China's Pacific Crescent - but now it wants to target emerging regions of the country.

Pushing to maintain its long-time lead in what is now the world’s largest market, Volkswagen is looking to boost production capacity while targeting regions of China only beginning to feel the benefits of the country’s rapid economic boom.

The new VW plant in western Xinjiang Province is home to a number of so-called Level 3, 4 and 5 cities that each have more than a million residents — but which have yet to experience the huge demand for cars experienced by Pacific Coast cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

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“There is today already a clear trend westward, while growth momentum in the east of the country has to some extent returned to normal. Volkswagen has taken this trend into consideration by building the production plant in Urumqi,” the provincial capital, said Jochem Heizmann, chief executive officer and president of Volkswagen Group China.


VW Ups Chinese Arms Race

Maker hopes to head off rivals GM, Toyota with new plants.

by on May.17, 2013

VW aims to maintain its lead in China with a mix of new products and more production capacity.

The automotive arms race in China is showing no signs of abating; if anything, the market’s leaders are stocking up more ammo.

General Motors, which this year expects to sell a record 3 million vehicles in China, has announced plans to raise its capacity in the booming market by 20%. Toyota also has disclosed plans to raise their presence in China – which is now the largest passenger car and commercial truck market in the world and is on its way to becoming the top luxury market in the world as well.

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Meanwhile, Volkswagen has marked the beginning of construction on a new assembly plant in Changsha in the south-central province of Hunan.  The factory is being built as part of the maker’s Chinese joint venture Shanghai-Volkswagen (SVW).

“We are expanding our capacity in China to four million vehicles per year by 2018 in order to meet demand from our Chinese customers”, Jochem Heizmann, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said at the groundbreaking.


Faulty Gearboxes Force Major VW Recall in China

Chinese consumers increasingly wary of quality problems.

by on Mar.20, 2013

VW takes heat as consumer activists begin to speak up in China about quality problems.

Volkswagen AG says it is recalling more than 384,000 vehicles in China to correct a problem with faulty gearboxes that can cause vehicles to lose power.

The announcement follows a recent report by Chinese state television that claimed the German automaker was selling cars with substandard gearbox systems, causing unspecified problems for some drivers. It also comes as VW is locked in a duel with General Motors for leadership in the world’s largest car market.

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The recall could cost Europe’s largest carmaker more than $600 million, according to various industry estimates. While Volkswagen was unable to immediately comment on the costs, research firm LMC Automotive estimates replacements will cost between RMB 3,000, or $483, to RMB 10,000 per vehicle.


VW Dominates Booming China. Challenges Loom

Is Chinese market finally cooling down? The Central Government has the power to stop the boom - and wants to.

by on Aug.04, 2010

Can Volkwagen continue to ride the tiger as China's best-selling automaker?

As one of the first foreign manufacturers to set up shop behind the old Bamboo Curtain, Volkswagen has been able to take advantage of the booming Chinese car market in a way that its competitors can only envy.

The German maker recently announced plans to add yet another Chinese assembly plant, hoping to keep up with demand that has strained its already significant capacity. (See VW Signs Contracts for another Chinese Plant -Another 300,000 vehicles annually from Eastern China.)

But despite its position as the country’s largest automaker, a senior VW official admits there are plenty of challenges ahead: from rising competition to the Chinese government’s own efforts to cool down an automotive market that has, at times grown by triple digits, threatening to overheat the economy.

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“The pace of growth has slowed down, largely because of government intervention,” says David Goggins, VW AG’s vice president of marketing and strategy in China, “but that makes sense.  It was running at unsustainable levels.”