PAUL MCVEIGH

China is key to Winterkorn's new strategy for VW

Paul McVeigh is Managing Editor at Automotive News EuropePaul McVeigh is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe
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China looms large in Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn's thoughts as he prepares a new strategy for the automaker.

"China will be an integral part of Future Tracks," Winterkorn said at a VW media event on the sidelines of the Beijing auto show.

Future Tracks is VW's name for its next business plan to cover the period from 2018-2025. VW's current strategy, called Strategy 2018, calls for the company to become the top global automaker in vehicle sales, profitability and customer satisfaction by 2018.

Winterkorn believes VW is well on the way to achieving those goals. In Beijing he reiterated that VW Group expects to sell 10 million vehicles worldwide this year, four years earlier than planned.

Winterkorn was more confident with this prediction than last month. In Beijing he said he "expects" to achieve the 10 million volume this year, while at the company's annual shareholders meeting on March 13 he was cautious, saying only that the company "may" reach the target.

The global volume includes all group brands from Bentley to Porsche and Skoda and Seat. VW expects to sell a record 3.5 million vehicles in China this year, up from 3.27 million in 2013, Winterkorn said.

China's auto market rose 14 percent to 21.98 million vehicles last year. Industry watchers forecast growth of between 8 and 10 percent this year.

You can reach Paul McVeigh at pmcveigh@crain.com.

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