SHANGHAI -- German supplier Webasto expects its annual sales in China to double by 2020 to 8.3 billion yuan (1.2 billion euros) from last year's results, Chairman Holger Engelmann said.
"Our sales volume is increasing," Engelmann said. "In addition, Chinese car buyers are shifting from smaller tilt-slide sunroofs to bigger and more expensive panoramic sunroofs."
Currently, about half of China's vehicle fleet have sunroofs. Among those, only 20 percent have panoramic roofs, while the others have tilt-slide roofs.
But Chinese demand for panoramic roofs is rising quickly. In three to four years, Webasto predicts that the market penetration of panoramic roofs will reach 50 percent.
Due to severe air pollution, demand for convertibles remains very low in China. As a result, Webasto does not sell roof systems for convertibles in the country. Engelmann believes demand will pick up as China controls air pollution.
"At one point of time, China will also become a market for convertibles," Engelmann said. "It takes some time, probably eight to nine years from now."
With 10 local plants, Webasto now supplies 22 automakers in China.
China has become Webasto's largest market. Last year, the company's sales in China surged 40 percent to 600 million euros, while global sales rose 8 percent to 2.5 billion euros.