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VW reports massive drop in sales in China


Volkswagen sold significantly fewer cars in China in 2021 - a decrease of 14 percent and the market share also decreased. Business in the key market could remain difficult for the coming months.

Enlarge image

VW production in China (archive picture from 2019)

Photo: Ding Ting / XinHua / dpa

Volkswagen had an unusually bad year in its most important single market.

The Volkswagen Group's sales in China fell by 14 percent in 2021.

VW China boss Stephan Wöllenstein cited the lack of semiconductors and the problems in the supply chains as reasons.

"It's been a pretty difficult year."

The decline in 2021 mainly affected the volume brands Volkswagen and Skoda, reported Wöllenstein.

The premium brand Audi did less badly with a minus of 3.6 percent compared to the previous year.

In the luxury segment, things even went up: Porsche was able to sell 8 percent and Bentley even 43 percent more cars.

The overall market had grown by four percent.

The VW Group's market share in China, which had long been 14 or 15 percent, fell to 11 percent.

"600,000 cars were lost in production," said Wöllenstein, referring to bottlenecks that would have hindered sales.

He mentioned the semiconductor shortage, corona outbreaks and the following production stops as well as a fire at a Japanese supplier.

"It's a complex system of restrictions that really changes weekly," said Wöllenstein.

"We want to regain disproportionately what we lost above average in the past year," said the VW China boss with a view to 2022. While the overall market is expected to grow by four percent, Volkswagen wants to grow by 15 or 16 percent.

Sales of electric cars from Volkswagen's ID family are also expected to develop positively.

After the 2021 target of 80,000 to 100,000 had been missed and "a little more than 70,000" had actually been sold, Wöllenstein wants to "at least" double the sales figures this year.

He was certain that Volkswagen would sell every ID car that could be built.

The supply of semiconductors for 160,000 to 200,000 ID cars is assured.

VW manager worried about Omikron outbreak

According to the China boss, the prospects for VW's largest single market are "very positive". With the growing middle class in China, annual car sales of 28 to 30 million are expected by the end of the decade. "There is great purchasing power in society," said Wöllenstein. "It's us, the industry, that can't deliver." Last year, 21 million cars were sold in China.

But there are still factors of uncertainty. "The semiconductor risks are difficult to assess." Wöllenstein was also concerned about the first Omikron outbreak in China in Beijing's neighboring city of Tianjin and possible further lockdowns. The Volkswagen plant in Tianjin has already had to temporarily stop production. Often curfews or production stops come overnight, so supply chains have to be adjusted. But they also passed quickly. "It could be a number of minor problems, though."

Because of the strict entry restrictions and the forced quarantine of three weeks in China, it is also difficult to bring foreign specialists into the country.

"A minimum of international experts is still necessary and wanted," said Wöllenstein.

But it is difficult to motivate skilled workers to go to China - especially if they also have children.

"Industry suffers as a result."

mmq / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-01-11

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