FRANKFURT - Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, stands by its target to sell 600,000 units of its new Golf model this year despite a slow start, a German magazine reported on Wednesday.
"We stand by this statement," head of distribution Detlef Wittig was quoted as saying in an interview with German weekly magazine Focus Money, when asked about the sales target.
Wittig added that Golf sales, which had a disappointing start in December, were currently rising, "although not as quickly as we have hoped."
But he cautioned that this target was based on the expectation that the economy would recover in 2004.
"As strong as the Golf is, it can't pull the whole economy," he added.
A strong launch for the fifth generation of the Golf, whose predecessors traditionally accounted for more than a third of unit sales and about half of profits at the VW brand, has been seen as key to reviving earnings at Europe's biggest car maker.
VW has sold more than 22 million Golfs in their various incarnations since it was first launched in 1974.