BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG forecast 2010 sales in South Africa will grow twice as fast as the market on the strength of new models.
Volkswagen expects deliveries in the country, Africa's largest economy, to rise 42 percent to 75,000 vehicles this year from 52,800 in 2009, David Powels, VW's managing director in South Africa, said.
The South African market overall will climb 20 percent in 2010 to 310,000 vehicles, Powels said in an interview, raising an earlier forecast for sales of 290,000 cars.
Volkswagen is counting on demand for the new Polo Vivo compact and Amarok pickup truck to help grow faster than the market after passing rival Toyota Motor Corp. last year to become the biggest carmaker in South Africa.
Car demand has increased as economic growth accelerated to an annualized 4.6 percent in the first quarter, from 3.2 percent in the previous three months, on mining and manufacturing gains.
“VW and Toyota have been vying for leadership in South Africa for years,” Powels said. “We're confident that we have the right products to keep the edge.”
World Cup debuts
VW is planning “some model presentations” centered around soccer's World Cup next month in South Africa, the executive said, declining to be more specific.
Volkswagen this year has continued to gain on its Japanese competitor after retaking the lead over Toyota in 2009.
The Germany-based carmaker raised its South African market share in the first four months by 0.9 percentage points to 17.3 percent while Toyota's fell 3.5 percentage points to 15.2 percent, VW spokesman Carsten Krebs said.
“The passenger car market has clearly jumped into gear,” Powels said. “We're more optimistic again and are building up our product portfolio.”