Germany's Volkswagen has cracked the 10 million vehicle mark, the first double-digit million-unit sales in the company's history. Sales were up in China and the US, where a major auto show kicks off this week.
Germany's Volkswagen in 2014 sold more than 10 million vehicles for the first time, the carmaker's chairman Martin Winterkorn announced Sunday ahead of the opening of a major auto show in Detroit.
VW sold 10,140,000 million vehicles, a 4.2 percent increase over 2013, a goal the company set for itself as part of a broader strategy to, among other things, become the world's largest automaker.
The eight-figure mark was made possible by robust sales in Asia, which were up 11.3 percent on the year as a whole and topped 4 million units for the first time. Most of the growth in Asia was in China, where VW sold 3.7 vehicles.
Sales in the US, where the North American International Auto Show begins Monday with two press days followed by a two-day industry preview and a black tie charity gala, were less notable and declined by 2 percent. Sales in South America fell by a whopping 19.8 percent.
As VW aims to carve a bigger niche for itself in global auto markets, it has undergone a number of expansions around the world, including in China, the US and Latin America. The German heavyweight is tripling its product range in the fast-growing crossover segment and will unveil a midsize sport-utility vehicle with seats for five in Detroit.
The company has realized that in order to lure more American consumers to buy its vehicles, VW must better cater to their tastes. With the price of oil dropping to lows not seen in years, those tastes could mean more horsepower and superior performance - two buzzwords in Detroit this year.
"It took us long to realize that the US market requires more special attention," a senior manager at VW's headquarters in Germany told the Reuters news agency.
cjc/bw (dpa, Reuters)