How crucial is China for global automotive brands? Let the Volkswagen boss explain
Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Wollenstein has seen the Chinese auto market up close since 2004. As he prepares to leave his post, Wollenstein remains sure of the prospects here.
For a global car brand of any reputation to enjoy any form of global success, its presence and performance in the Chinese car market has long been considered absolutely crucial. That China is the largest automobile market in the world and the largest car manufacturing country has been established in the past decade. But it’s the growth trajectory here that’s vitally important for companies, including Volkswagen. Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen China, has seen the market here grow into high gear since he first returned in 2004 and now that he is stepping down at the end of July, underscores the continued importance of the Chinese auto market vis-à-vis towards the world.
Wollenstein was quoted by the Bloomberg news agency as saying that the Chinese auto market as a whole is ready for even bigger things and that performance here has a profound impact on the global performance of nearly every automaker. “If you’re not in China and if you don’t face China’s speed and treat China specifically, I doubt you’ll be a leading manufacturer in the next five to ten years,” he said. -he declares. Is it any wonder, then, that Volkswagen continues to bet bigger and bigger here, and despite the long list of global and local rivals?
Volkswagen sold 40% of all its cars in the first quarter of this year in China alone. Wollenstein says auto sales here could reach 30 million by 2030, or about 30-40% of total sales worldwide. China is already well ahead of other major markets like the United States, Japan, India and Germany. Sales for all of 2021 were just over 21 million. This is more than the 15 million units sold in the United States and significantly more than the 4.3 million sold in Japan and the 3.5 million in India.
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But unlike India where Volkswagen says it doesn’t really play the numbers game, it’s all about the numbers in China for the German brand. The company shipped 4.23 million to China in 2019, but shipments have since declined due to Covid-19-related factors. But Wollenstein thinks China remains a huge market and there’s always room for brands as big as Volkswagen or relatively new players.
Date of first publication: Jul 28, 2022, 3:39 PM IST