Volkswagen won’t join China discount battle “at any price” – COO

BERLIN, May 31 (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will not participate in a discount battle in China “at any price”, Chief Operating Officer Ralf Brandstaetter said in an interview released on Wednesday.

The German carmaker is under growing pressure in its most important market from up-and-coming Chinese manufacturers who are more successful with electric cars than their Western rivals.

“Volkswagen is focusing on a sustainable business model. In concrete terms, this means that we will not participate in the discount battle at any price,” Brandstaetter said in an interview for the company’s intranet.

“Our market position is strong enough. For us, the focus is on profitability, not sales volume or market share,” he added.

Brandstaetter expects the Chinese car market to grow from its current 22 million to between 28 to 30 million by 2030.

“If we achieve sales of more than 4 million vehicles in this environment in 2030, with corresponding profitability, that is a position we could very well live with,” he said.

Volkswagen aspires to be the biggest international carmaker in China, he said, adding that it’s irrelevant if another national manufacturer sells more than it does.

Chinese manufacturer BYD 002594.SZ outsold Volkswagen, which has led the market there for decades, as the top passenger car brand earlier this year.

Reporting by Jan C. Schwartz Writing by Friederike Heine and Miranda Murray Editing by Kirsti Knolle and Madeline Chambers