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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Volvo Cars said it was struggling to build up its retail operation in China where annual sales were unlikely to meet a target of 200,000 by 2015.
"We are underperforming in China," Stefan Jacoby, the chief executive of Zhejiang Geely-owned GEELY.UL Volvo, said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.
"We are also lagging behind regarding adapting the cars to the Chinese market," Jacoby told Svenska Dagbladet.
"There is no point sending more cars to China. I need to get my own organization in order first."
He added the company was experiencing "significant weaknesses" in building its Chinese sales organization and supporting retailers.
Volvo aimed to sell 200,000 cars a year in China in 2015 as part of a 2020 global sales target of 800,000. It sold almost 450,000 cars worldwide last year.
Jacoby confirmed the 2020 goal but said the 2015 target for China was in doubt.
"We probably have to realize that it may be too tough to reach 200,000 (cars) within three years," he was quoted as saying.
"I think we have a great chance to reach the goal of 200,000 cars in 2020," he added.
Jacoby, pointing to lackluster Chinese sales so far this year, said Volvo was likely to sell between 45,000 and 46,000 cars in 2012, down slightly from 47,000 last year.
A company spokesman said separately on Friday that Volvo's head of sales in China, Richard Snijders, was moving to a new position in the Netherlands and would be replaced by Fu Qiang, who previously worked at Mercedes.
Volvo cars are currently imported to China from overseas factories, but the company is looking to set up production in the country in the coming years.
Editing by David Cowell