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China now Volvo's third-largest market: reports

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China now Volvo's third-largest market: reports
Geely's Li with Volvo France head Wim Maes at the Paris Motor Show, October 3
12:12 CEST+02:00
China has become the third-largest market for Volvo following its acquisition by Chinese automaker Geely, state media reported Saturday.

Alexander Klose, head of Volvo Cars China, made the comments at a trade show in the northern city of Tianjin, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

He said sales of the Swedish brand's vehicles had soared in the world's largest auto market in 2010.

"As of the end of September, Volvo's global sales volume was up 12.5 percent year-on-year, compared with a 52 percent year-on-year rise in China," he was quoted as saying.

Volvo also expanded its dealer network to 81 Chinese cities in 2010, he said, adding he was confident of seeing huge growth in the nation's auto market in the next five years.

The struggling Swedish brand -- known for its sturdy, family-friendly vehicles -- was acquired from US auto giant Ford by China's Geely in August for $1.5 billion.

Li Shufu, head of Geely, said in a September interview with the Wall Street Journal that he hoped to build three Volvo assembly plants in China that would produce up to 300,000 autos a year for sale in the Asian nation.

Volvo has joined a long list of car makers trying to cash in on China's vast auto market, which overtook the United States last year to become the world's largest.

On Friday, German automaker Daimler said it planned to invest €3 billion ($4.2 billion) in China by 2015 to boost production of Mercedes-Benz cars.

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