Retail in Asia

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Volkswagen drive for China millionaires

Volkswagen is speeding up a facelift of the USD88,000 Phaeton sedan in time to unveil the model at the Beijing auto show this month and target China’s millionaires.

VW, which withdrew the Phaeton from the United States in 2006 after a sales flop, was designing new front and rear sections, an interior upgrade and a wider selection of engines for the car, said people familiar with the production.

Group sales of Volkswagen in China, which surpassed the US as the world’s largest vehicle market last year, surged 37 percent in 2009 to 1.4 million cars, sport-utility vehicles and vans. VW plans to invest EUR4 billion (USD5.35 billion) on new models and plants in China by 2011 to achieve 2 million deliveries by 2018, part of an effort to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. as the largest carmaker globally.

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