Volkswagen Group sold a record 910,941 cars in China last year. This has led to an improvement in profitability.

Speaking to journalists in Beijing, Winfried Vahland, head of Volkswagen in China, said that he expected Volkswagen group sales to grow in line with the market in 2008, between 15-20%. This would mean selling more than a million vehicles.

According to dpa-AFX, Volkswagen increased its market share in China from 17 to 18% in 2007. Volkswagen brand sales rose 24% to 780,784 units, and Audi sales rose 25% to 101,996. Skoda sales totaled 27,235 units, up from just 660 units in 2006.

Just 8,000 cars sold by the group in China were imported. All the others were produced in the two Chinese joint ventures.

Volkswagen Group growth of 28% exceeded overall market growth of 22%. Vahland said: "VW was one of the market winners, alongside the Chinese brands," according to dpa-AFX. Korean, Japanese and US brands all lost market share.

Vahland said that sustainable growth is more important to the company that further market share growth. He said that the VW China restructuring programme, dubbed the 'Olympic Programme', would come to an end this year, having been launched three years ago. He said that Volkswagen had met or exceeded targets in all areas.

Vahland said he thought that the Chinese automotive industry would consolidate from around 40 brands today to one or two large manufacturers who could also become internationally strong. He thought Chinese brands would manage to increase their market share from 27% to between 30 and 40% in the long term.