The battle between Volkswagen and General Motors for the hearts and minds of Chinese consumers is heating up. Shanghai Volkswagen on Monday, August 2, announced it had sold 28,000 units in July, more than Shanghai General Motors.
Ordinarily SVW might not make such a big deal out of the information. But in June Shanghai GM, GM's joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, for the first time sold more cars in China than Shanghai VW.
Volkswagen's July victory is a deceptive one, however.
SVW's July sales were almost flat compared to the same month in 2003, while SGM said its sales surged 20.3 percent.
Official figures have not been released for July sales.
In June, Volkswagen cut prices on a wide range of models made at both Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-VW, the German automaker's other China joint venture.
GM in May cut prices on its Regal, Excelle and GL-8 models.
SVW claimed that its sales victory in July proved that Chinese consumers were interested in brand reputation, technology and service, not just price.
But SVW admitted that its June price cuts -- which it said were made in the "Olympic Spirit" -- were responsible for some of the July sales. That month, Volkswagen announced it had been chosen as the official vehicle of the 2008 Beijing Games.
In January thru June, 1.21 million passenger cars were sold in China including SUVs and MPVs, according to Automotive Resources Asia, a Shanghai-based consultancy.
Volkswagen had 25.3 percent of the China market at the end of June, compared to 33.3 percent at the end of 2003. GM had 12.1 percent market share, up from 9.9 percent at the end of 2003.