BEIJING, April 18 (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s flagship luxury division Audi said it plans to sell half a million cars this year in China, the world’s biggest auto market, and raise the number of its Chinese dealers to 500 by 2017.
Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler made the comments to reporters on Friday ahead of the Beijing auto show, which opens on Sunday. In 2013, it sold 488,000 vehicles in China and a total of 492,000 including Hong Kong.
Audi is stepping up efforts to unseat German rival BMW as global luxury-car sales leader.
Recovering European demand and Chinese growth pushed its deliveries to a record in the January-March quarter.
Audi’s total deliveries rose 11.7 percent to 412,850 cars, with a 21 percent gain in China after the carmaker started assembly of the A3 sportback model at a factory in Foshan in late 2013. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Writing by Lee Chyen Yee; editing by Jane Baird)