By on November 3, 2008

How about this for tell me how you really feel: Volkswagen AG, China’s biggest car maker, told Bloomberg (of all people) that “the worst may yet to come” for China’s car market. This cheerful prediction was uttered by Soh Weiming, Volkswagen Group China’s Executive Vice President. Soh Weiming is no stranger to an uncertain future. The imminent ouster of the cigar-loving VP had been floated for years in Beijing and Wolfsburg. But like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps on going and going. And there he was to say that it would be “too early to estimate” the losses caused by the economic slowdown in China’s auto industry.

After a surge of 23 percent in the first two quarters of 2008, Volkswagen’s sales in China dropped 4.2 percent in the third quarter. SAIC, Volkswagen’s joint venture partner in China’s reported a 78 percent plunge in third-quarter profits. The company, which is also in bed with GM, said their vehicles sales growth was only nine percent in the first nine months. Last year, SAIC’s sales had ascended 24 percent. FAW, Volkswagen other joint venture partner, fared better; they reported a 62.39 percent rise in net profits for the first nine months. Soh Weiming made no predictions regarding Volkswagen’s sales in China. Which prompted Bloomberg to point to a government estimate that says that Volkswagen China sits on a pile of 170k unsold cars. Now we understand Soh Weiming’s feelings.

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