Brushing off worries about a slowdown hitting the world's largest auto market, Audi AG, the biggest luxury car maker in China, expects to sell 1 million cars in the country over the next three years, a vast acceleration over its previous sales pace.
China has been driving in the fast lane for some time with its wealthy nouveau riche forking out for luxury brands. Audi is now the country's biggest premium car maker. The German car giant says its wants to increase car sales by 1 million over the next three years. Dietmar Voggenreiter is Audi president of operations in China. SOUNDBITE: Dietmar Voggenreiter, president Audi's China operations, saying (English): "China will have around 8 percent market share for premium cars. And if you compare it with developed markets like U.S. or Europe, the normal rate is around 15 percent of premium cars." Last month Audi's parent company Volkswagen delivered nearly 30,000 cars to China. And BMW reported an increase in sales to China of more than 40 percent. Despite the country's economy showing signs of slowing Audi still believe they'll hit their target. SOUNDBITE: Dietmar Voggenreiter, president Audi's China operations, saying (English): "The premium car market, this year has a growth rate of 30 to 40 percent, so we are very confident about next year that the growth rate for premium cars will be above the passenger car market growth rate." But overall growth in China's car sales has stalled this year. It grew just 5 percent - a tiny rise compared to 33 percent last year and over 50 percent the year before. The end of tax incentives for small cars are partly to blame. China is to impose additional taxes on American cars, as trade friction between the two countries steps up. That won't affect Audi - they're planning to double the number of dealerships in China to 400 by the end of 2013. Hayley Platt Reuters