Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest carmaker, said Tuesday it expected to be selling two million cars per year in China within the next two years, moving up an earlier prediction of 2018 to reach that goal.
Winfried Vahland, head of Volkswagen's China operations, said in Beijing that the goal would now be reached "in one to two years" while predicting that the German-based carmaker would see strong two-digit growth this year in its biggest market, potentially exceeding 20 percent when compared with the 2009 sales figures of 1.4 million cars.
Volkswagen is building four new factories in China to achieve the two million sales goal. Vahland said he was confident that Volkswagen's market share which rose to 17.5 percent in May would rise further.
In the first four months of the year, Volkswagen saw a sales rise of 53 percent from the same period a year earlier, thanks to economic stimulus measures implemented by the government. It sold 620,500 cars in the world's most populous country through April.
Vahland said, however, that growth of 50 percent was "unhealthy" and the surge, which was also caused by weak sales figures from 2008 in the midst of the world recession, would moderate.
Volkswagen is also investing 6 billion euros ($7.17 billion) in China from this year through 2012.
It plans to build one of its new plants in Chengdu, the capital of the south-western province of Sichuan, and another in Nanjing, the capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu.
The contract for the third with Volkwagen's joint venture partner China First Automotive Works Group Corp, which is to be built in the southern boom province of Guangdong, is to be signed Wednesday.
The fourth plant is planned with another Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Its location has yet to be decided.