Volkswagen sees China sales on par with 2021 as lockdown impact lingers – Handelsblatt

BERLIN, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) expects sales in China to stagnate at about 3.3 million vehicles in 2022, its China chief told Handelsblatt on Tuesday, as it struggles to make up the impact of coronavirus lockdowns and chip shortages in the first half.

The carmaker had previously forecast sales of 3.85 million vehicles this year, on par with 2020, but adjusted its expectations in the middle of the year, Ralf Brandstaetter told the German daily.

Volkswagen said in July that monthly production volumes across the group had improved significantly towards the end of the second quarter – but a programme implemented to catch up on the first-half shortfall was not enough to compensate for the losses, Brandstaetter said on Tuesday.

VW still expects to double its sales of ID electric vehicles in the country from last year’s level as planned, he added.

New coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks have not impacted Volkswagen’s own plants, though some dealers have had to close, the China chief said.

Asked about Volkswagen’s plant in Xinjiang, which has sparked controversy because of widespread reports of human rights violations in the region, Brandstaetter said he planned to visit the factory as soon as possible.

“I would like to get a first-hand look on site as soon as possible. That was not possible until now because of coronavirus restrictions,” he said.

Writing by Rachel More, Editing by Miranda Murray and Tomasz Janowski