Its models lead compact and mid-sized segments in the world's biggest car market
BEIJING - Sino-German joint venture Shanghai Volkswagen reported 40 percent sales growth to about 447,000 vehicles in the six months to June, thanks to sparkling demand for the VW Passat and Lavida as well as the Octavia model from its Skoda brand.
The joint venture delivered over 83,000 cars in June alone - 27.7 percent more than a year ago and 11.5 percent higher than the previous month - despite cooling growth in the overall passenger vehicle market in China.
As the sales champion in the compact segment, the tie-up's star product Lavida surpassed the 20,000-unit sales mark again in June, pushing its first-half tally to 116,000 units.
Some 300,000 Lavidas have been sold in China since the model was introduced two years ago.
The venture also sold 12,650 Passats, the leader in the mid-sized sector. The subcompact Polo and mid-sized Santana both had solid sales of over 10,000 units every month in the first half of this year.
Shanghai Volkswagen's first sports utility vehicle, the Tiguan launched at the end of March, has already attracted a host of followers among the booming premium SUV market - nearly 20,000 units have already been sold.
The joint venture's Touran multi-purpose vehicle saw sales jump 87 percent to 15,022 units between January and June. The car was also selected to offer taxi services for the Shanghai World Expo.
First-half sales of all Volkswagen brand cars made by the joint venture totaled 364,000 units, up 33 percent over a year ago.
Its Czech unit Skoda posted even faster growth, as first-half sales surged 80 percent to about 83,200 units, far higher than the average growth rate in the overall auto market.
Some 8,500 Octavias were moved out of showrooms in June, making subcompact model the brand's best seller. The first Skoda model produced in China, the Octavia first rolled off the assembly line in Shanghai in 2007, followed by the Fabia in 2008 and the Superb in 2009.
Shanghai Volkswagen launched an upgraded Octavia earlier this year, offering higher performance provided by a 1.4-liter version of VW's state-of-the-art TSI engine.
The brand's subcompact model Fabia and mid-sized flagship product Superb both saw stable monthly sales of over 3,000 units in the past six months.
Previous reports said that the joint venture plans to increase the number of Skoda dealer outlets to 300 by the end of this year, up from 247 in 2009.
Three versions of the Octavia and two types of Superbs are on the list of energy-saving vehicles eligible for 3,000 yuan government subsidies. They are likely to benefit from increased consumer demand in the second half of this year.
The list was recently released by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency. It includes 71 models equipped with 1.6-liter and smaller engines made at 16 enterprises.