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German automakers are seeing brisk sales in China and introducing newer models into the world's second largest and fast-growing vehicle market.

China sales of Volkswagen Group, Europe's biggest vehicle producer, jumped by 23 percent year-on-year to 202,623 units in the first quarter of this year, which includes 24,342 units of its premium brand Audi.

This strong performance maintains the Wolfsburg-based company's two-decade status as the top player in the passenger car arena in China.

Its 2006 sales here amounted to 711,298 units.

Volkswagen plans to introduce 12 to 14 new models into its China production lines between 2005 and 2009. This includes the recently launched Skoda Octavia compact sedan and Volkswagen Magotan large sedan.

The group, which started making cars in China in the mid-1980s, now runs two joint ventures with the nation's top automakers First Automotive Works Corp (FAW) and SAIC Motor Co Ltd, which now have a combined production capacity of 900,000 cars a year.

Volkswagen has invested more than $6.76 billion in China, making it the biggest investor in the nation's automotive industry.

Munich-based German luxury carmaker BMW sold 10,177 cars in the Chinese mainland in the first three months of this year - a 17-percent surge from a year ago. Last year, the Munich-based firm's mainland sales reached 36,357 units.

BMW now assembles its 3 and 5 Series sedans at a joint venture in Northeast China with China Brilliance Auto.

Last month, BMW launched its new Z4 convertible and new X5 in China as imports.

DaimlerChrysler-owned Mercedes-Benz, another German luxury car producer, sold 6,800 cars in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, up 16 percent year on year.

Mercedes-Benz began making its E-Class sedans at DaimlerChrysler's joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Corp at the end of 2005. The venture will introduce Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans at the end of this year or the beginning of 2008.

Sales of China-made vehicles grew by 21.46 percent to 2.93 million units between January and March this year, with sales of passenger cars jumping by 25.87 percent to 1.71 million units, according to data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Annual vehicle sales are predicted to reach 8.5 million units, up from 7.22 million in 2006.

China's car market is becoming more competitive with the expansion of companies from Japan, the United States, South Korea and France, as well as of Chinese indigenous brands

Source: China Daily

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Back in the mid 80's my father's company had an exchange executive from large japanese company come over to 'inbed' in canadian society. He stayed with us for six months.
He loved to see the japanese VCR's and cars and electronics. His lament was that euro products and cars were the accepted luxury items in japan and the most popular vehicle was the rabbit.
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