Volkswagen aims to become the sales leader in southern China, a region of the world’s biggest car market that company executives said traditionally had been dominated by Japanese automakers.

“I am very confident that we can take the lead in the whole region in 2011,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, chief executive of Volkswagen Group China, said in a statement ahead of the Guangzhou show, which opened today (21 November), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

He noted the Volkswagen’s Audi, Volkswagen and other group brands have together taken 15.8% of the region’s passenger vehicle market, up from about 12% in 2008. In 2009 the group launched a sales push called ‘South China Strategy’.

Volkswagen executives said that they define south China as a region that includes the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Hunan. The region also has big metropolitan cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen but Volkswagen’s definition of the sub-China market excludes Hong Kong and Macau.

As part of its south China strategy, VW aims to more than triple its sales in the region to half a million from about 150,000 vehicles it sold two years ago, the WSJ said. By upgrading the quality and boosting the number of dealers, the group had already sold 400,000 vehicles this year, VW said.