The first-quarter sales pace of 10.8 percent at Volkswagen's luxury car unit Audi is extending into April in China and globally, a senior Audi executive said on Monday.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the Beijing Autoshow, Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi's sales chief, said the outlook for further growth in China remained strong.

The growth trend that we saw in the first three months has continued, Schwartenbauer said, adding April will turn out pretty reasonable for sales.

He said Audi was just scratching the surface of the market in China, noting that of the country's 300 cities with more than 1 million population, Audi has dealers in 187 of them.

The premium market still faces extremely good growth prospects, he said.

Schwarzenbauer said China should surpass the United States to become the world's largest luxury car market by 2015, and he also saw opportunities in Europe despite the region's economic woes.

There are many markets in Europe that are developing well, he said, citing Britain, Russia and Germany, that are offsetting struggling southern European markets.

I expect us to grow in Europe this year despite the headwinds.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Ken Wills)