SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech said the company's sales in China will grow at least 9 percent in 2013 after expanding a projected 10 percent or more this year, as more consumers buy their first cars.
"The growth is tremendous," Piech said in an interview in Tianjin, China, where he's attending the World Economic Forum. "You have so many people without cars and we expect a few buyers for our products."
The German-based automaker said in June it plans to increase production capacity in China to four million cars by 2018 to cater to demand. Piech said the current planned investment is sufficient at this point.
China's passenger-vehicle deliveries trailed analysts' estimates for a second month in August as consumers held off purchases in anticipation of further discounts. In the first eight months, deliveries rose 8 percent to 9.95 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
VW's group deliveries in the Greater China region climbed 17 percent last year to 2.26 million vehicles. The automaker trailed General Motors Co., whose sales in China -- including Wuling minivans -- rose 8.3 percent to 2.55 million in 2011.
Piech said VW isn't suffering in Europe, where pricing pressure in the region will continue and some carmakers will "disappear."
Last month, VW said sales in its total European market rose 1.6 percent to 2.23 million in the first seven months.
The automaker aims to challenge General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. for the position of No. 1 global automaker by unit sales, a goal the group aims to achieve by 2018. VW is targeting 10 million auto sales that year.
In 2011, VW Group sold 8.27 million units, behind GM with 9.05 million and ahead of Toyota with 7.95 million.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report