FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen wants to sell at least 50,000 Skoda cars a year in China and is eyeing a launch of its Czech brand there by the beginning of 2006 at the latest, German newspaper FT Deutschland reported on Thursday.
In an advanced copy of the daily's Friday edition, the FT Deutschland said VW already was in negotiations with Shanghai Automotive (SAIC), one of its joint venture partners in China, over plans to build Skodas in Shanghai.
At present, it isn't clear whether Skoda would found its own joint venture with SAIC, or participate in the existing one VW holds with China's second largest vehicle maker, the newspaper reported citing management sources.
In an interview with the Financial Times in June, Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder said the company was considering launching the Skoda brand in China in order to help boost waning sales of its VW brand cars.
A spokesman confirmed VW was considering selling the Skoda in China, but declined to comment on further details.
Volkswagen's VW and Audi brands have long dominated the Chinese market, together accounting for more than 30 percent of all new car sales in China.
However, rivals like General Motors have been investing heavily in China, to expand capacity and market share in the world's fastest growing market.
On Friday, VW will report first-half results after intense speculation circulated that Europe's largest carmaker would lower its profit forecast for 2004.