* Jan-Sept China, HK car sales up 37 pct
* Expects over 30 pct sales growth in China, HK in 2009
* Target to double sales in China, HK by 2018 reachable
Volkswagen AG (VOWG.DE) said on Monday it expected its sales in mainland China and Hong Kong to grow more than 30 percent this year, after rising 37 percent in the first nine months thanks to government stimulus measures.
The top European automaker sold 1.06 million vehicles in China, the world's fastest growing major auto market, and Hong Kong in January-September, up from 775,341 units a year earlier, it said in a statement.
Sales in September came to a monthly record of nearly 150,000 units, it said, without providing a comparative figure.
We surpassed the 1 million record sales landmark of last year already in middle of September. Based on our current figures we expect for the whole year a solid double-digit growth of more than 30 percent for the group! Winfried Vahland, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China, said in a statement.
Volkswagen said in February it planned to double its vehicle sales in the Greater China area to 2 million units by 2018 and further increase its market share in China.
Its achievements make the targets reachable, Volkswagen said in the statement.
China's overall auto market, the world's largest, has received a strong boost since February from government policy support measures, including tax incentives for small cars and subsidies for vehicle buyers in rural areas.
General Motors [GM.UL], Volkswagen's archrival in the country, is also among the beneficiaries. Its China sales rose 55.6 percent to 1.29 million vehicles in the first nine months. [ID:nSHA132326]
From January to September, Volkswagen, which operates car ventures with SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS) and FAW Group, sold 871,037 cars under the Volkswagen brand in mainland China and Hong Kong, up 36.3 percent year-on-year, including imports, it said.
Deliveries for Audi models rose 19.7 percent to 108,859 units, including imports, with sales of Skoda up 82.1 percent at 81,652 units, it added.
Volkswagen announced a plan earlier this year to invest 4 billion euros ($5.88 billion) in China through 2011 to develop new products and expand production capacity at its plants in the eastern city of Nanjing and the southwestern city of Chengdu. ($1=.6805 Euro) (Reporting by Fang Yan and Edmund Klamann; Editing by Doug Young)