Thursday, July 14, 2005

China's auto sales skyrocket - not Volkswagen's

In this somewhat confusing read, titled "Woeful Volkswagen in a mess at home & abroad", The Economic Times of India releases some startling figures on automobile sales in China for the first half of 2005. I say confusing because it is a 7 page article but pages 6 and 7 are repeats of pages 3 and 4. Anyway, these numbers comparing the first half of 2004 with 2005 are astounding:

General Motors - sold 308,722 units, an increase of +18.9%
Peugeot Citroen - sold 72,470 units, an increase of +54.9%
Honda - sold 117,641 units, an increase of +41.4%
Volkswagen - sold 265,000, a decrease of -13.3%

Volkswagen claimed that the decrease was due to "different reporting methods". How can you miss-count 41,000 cars? This is not a paperclip factory. You can count each unit as it rolls off the assembly line or you can count the wheels each unit is sitting on and divide by 4. It's not rocket science.

Volkswagen's market share in China, which just two years ago was 50% and the envy of everyone has plummeted to 18%. VW's operations in China lost $36 million in the 1st half of 2005 against a profit last year during the same period of $147.7 million, or a whopping turnaround of -$183.7 million.

VW's problems aside, if GM's sales in the U.S. increased 18.9% in 6 months, Wall Street would be dancing down the middle of Wall Street.

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