Volkswagen ‘s China operations chief Karl-Thomas Neumann has said the automaker is shifting strategy and will no longer sell models designed specifically for China, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported.

Neumann said cars designed exclusively for China no longer make sense, given the increasing sophistication of customer demand in that country [eg an updated version of the 1980s ‘Mark II’ Jetta is still sold there as well as an updated Santana, staple of the Shanghai taxi fleet – ed].

“Our clients want European design, and therefore we will sell global models while adding many special features,” Neumann said, according to the paper.

Neumann said VW China sales were rising sharply and would exceed 2m cars this year.

He also expects a larger sales volume in 2012, adding China is so large that there is ample room for all of Volkswagen’s niche products, such as Seat models produced in Spain.

The article cited Neumann as saying he doesn’t rule out production of Seat brand cars in China one day, if demand is strong enough.

Seat executives told the Wall Street Journal the brand had already signed up 15 Chinese dealers and planned to start selling its first model in March. Seat would launch two car models in 2012.