DALIAN, China -- Volkswagen AG says it expects to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China this year, reaffirming China's status as VW's largest global market.
In the first seven months, Volkswagen Group sold 1.3 million units, up 16 percent year-on-year.
If VW hits its annual sales target, 2011 deliveries would rise 4.2 percent. That would be roughly in line with likely industry sales in China, but relatively flat compared with last year's growth rate.
In 2010, VW group sold 1.9 million vehicles, up 37 percent from the previous year.
Industry sales flattened this year after China's central government eliminated a scrapping incentive and raised the sales tax on small cars.
China has been Volkswagen Group's largest market worldwide since 2009, and the Volkswagen brand is China's top-selling marque. But the German automaker remains locked in a sales race with rival General Motors Co.
If one includes sales of microvans, GM's Chinese joint ventures sold 1.3 million units in the first six months, while VW Group sold 1.1 million units.
Volkswagen disclosed its sales target in a statement issued during CEO Martin Winterkorn's trip to China.
Winterkorn came to China to celebrate the 20th anniversary of FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co., Volkswagen's joint venture with China FAW Group Corp.
FAW-Volkswgen produces Audi-brand vehicles and Volkswagen-brand models such as the Golf, Jetta, Sargita, New Bora, Magotan and CC. VW's Skoda models are produced by its joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp.
While Winterkorn was in China, a redesigned Magotan rolled off the production line of FAW-Volkswagen's plant in the southwest China city of Chengdu.
Volkswagen also has a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. The partnership, called Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co., builds Skoda-brand vehicles and Volkswagen-brand models including the Passat, Polo, Touran, Santana, Lavida and Tiguan.
The two joint ventures now employ more than 40,000 workers in China.