Volkswagen’s Sales in China Fell 14% in 2021 — Update

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By Yoko Kubota
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BEIJING — Volkswagen AG sold about 3.3 million vehicles in China in 2021, down 14%, after being hit by a global semiconductor shortage, its China chief executive said on Tuesday.

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Volkswagen Group China CEO Stefan Wollenstein said the German auto maker aims to increase sales in the world’s largest auto market by about 15% in 2022.

Volkswagen, like other global car makers, has been battling a shortage of chips for the past one year. The company has also recently been hit by relatively small outbreaks of Covid-19 in China, Mr Wollenstein said.

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Volkswagen’s plant in Tianjin, a port city in northern China where the country’s first cases of domestic transmission of the Omicron variant were detected in recent days, has recently closed because of the outbreak, he said. The Tianjin plant is run in conjunction with state-run FAW Group Corp.

In December, Volkswagen also closed a plant in Ningbo, another port city in eastern China, after another minor Covid-19 outbreak, Mr Wollenstein said. Volkswagen operates the Ningbo plant along with state-run SAIC Motor Corp.

“It’s really a complex system of constraints that are changing more or less on a weekly basis,” Mr Wollenstein said of the auto maker’s production plans. In recent cases, Chinese authorities have brought local outbreaks under control in a matter of weeks, allowing businesses such as Volkswagen to return to operations, he said.

Write to Yoko Kubota at [email protected]

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