The German car maker was the eighth most popular brand here in 2012, with 54,835 sales and a five per cent market share. That’s double what VW was selling just five years ago, and compares with just 12,357 sales in 2003.
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s member of the board of management responsible for development, said the company should be capable of matching rivals such as Hyundai, which sold more than 91,000 vehicles in 2012.
“I think Australia maybe we will be more in focus in the future now, because I think Volkswagen has big potential in Australia,” said Dr Hackenberg, visiting Australia last week for the local launch of the new-generation Volkswagen Golf. “Because if I see the competitors they are stronger than us.
“I don’t speak about Toyota. Toyota has about four times the volume as Volkswagen. But also Hyundai, for example, has about double. Or others. And there is no reason we should not be able to have the same volume.
“We are fighting to get this volume, especially with the sales organisation here. And for that it is absolutely necessary that the quality [of our vehicles] fits to the demand of the customers. We have to do everything to realise it.”
Volkswagen is aiming to become the world’s biggest car maker by 2018. Dr Hackenberg said local market leader Toyota was likely to be too difficult to overcome, but that the company needed markets such as Australia to contribute to its global sales ambitions.
“No.1 in Australia, that would be I think not realistic coming from the actual situation,” he said. “But to improve our current situation that should be possible.
“VW is No.3 [globally] and very close to No.2. Toyota made a good step in last year so is no.1. But if we look at the countries where VW is strong, and maybe not strong, or not visible… A lot of markets where VW has huge potential to grow and Australia is one of the countries where we have stepped in [as official factory], but we can do more.
“And it is important for our worldwide target to be No.1 by 2018.”
Volkswagen sales have increased just three per cent after the first quarter of 2013, though the company will be hoping for great results from the new-generation Golf.