Audi said on Wednesday it expected unit sales of 62,000 in China in 2003, almost doubling the number of cars it sold last year in the world's fastest growing car market, Reuters reported.

This would represent a tripling of the carmaker's unit sales over three years in the booming Chinese market, Erich Schmitt, Audi management board member in charge of China, said in a statement cited by the news agency.

Audi, which is struggling to expand profits worldwide, said in October it expected to sell 60,000 cars in China this year after selling 36,492 vehicles in 2002, Reuters noted.

The report said the company's Chinese unit sales almost doubled to a record 6,099 vehicles in November and jumped 69% to more than 56,000 vehicles in the first 11 months of the year.

"Production is running at full capacity and sales figures are rising in leaps and bounds," Schmitt reportedly said, adding that more than 70% of the vehicles were sold to private customers.

Reuters said that Audi's China sales include locally made A6 saloons and A4 compacts and imported products such as the TT coupe, Quattro sports sedan and the revamped A8, which is selling for between $US145,000 and $181,200.

Audi, which dominates the luxury car market in China, is gearing up for more competition from German rivals BMW and DaimlerChrysler, the report added.

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