30 years after entering the Chinese market, the Volkswagen Group is starting a new phase of sustainable growth. In the course of expanding production capacities, the two Chinese joint ventures of the Volkswagen Group will be investing more than EUR 9.8 billion by 2015; investments in highly efficient products and resource-conserving production will account for more than two thirds of this figure.
Before the Shanghai Motor Show, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, stated: "We will be launching the largest investment program in China's automotive history."
Winterkorn: "At Volkswagen, we are convinced that climate protection and efficient technologies are drivers for economic growth. And I am confident that the world's best automaker must take the lead in terms of green mobility, too." China will play a key role in achieving the ambitious goals of the Volkswagen Group. The Group is building seven new plants in China. Five of these plants are already due to start production this year: the Urumqi, Foshan and Ningbo vehicle assembly plants as well as component facilities at Changchun and Foshan. By 2018, the workforce is to increase from 75,000 to 100,000 people. Annual production capacity is set to grow from the present figure of 2.6 million to more than 4 million units per year in 2018, with a view to relieving the burden on existing plants in a growing market.
The member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for China, Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, gave more precise details of the electro-mobility strategy tailored to the needs of the Chinese market. He said that it was planned to offer vehicles with an electrified powertrain from 2014/2015. Some of these vehicles would be produced locally by the joint ventures Shanghai-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen.
Heizmann underscored that 26 models of the group had already been recognized as especially energy-saving and environmentally compatible by the state. Volkswagen had already reduced the fuel consumption of its fleet in China, currently including more than 70 models, by 20 percent between 2005 and 2010. A further reduction of 11 percent was planned by 2015. Volkswagen complies with the fleet consumption legislation which has been in force in China since 2012 and will take further measures to achieve ambitious reductions in fleet consumption over the next few years. Among other things, this will include further optimization of the efficiency of internal combustion engines as well as the introduction of alternative powertrain technology. The intensive development of local research and development competence will also play a role in this context.
The seven new plants will set new standards for sustainable automobile production. The new paint shops which are planned alone will use 70% less energy and 90% less water as a result of the introduction of highly innovative dry paint mist separation processes. The first paint shop of this type in Asia and the second in the world was commissioned in Chengdu in 2011. Six others are now already in operation or in the pipeline.
The Foshan facility was the first car factory in China to receive a Triple-Star Green Building Award, the highest state award available for environmentally compatible factory design. Foshan features the first membrane bioreactor in the Chinese automobile industry; 100 percent of treated wastewater is reused as industrial water. 88 percent of the waste and packaging material from the production process is recycled.
"For three decades, Volkswagen has been a reliable partner for the Chinese automobile industry. We will continue to assume responsibility for people and the environment in the future," said Heizmann. He added that this included the function of Volkswagen in setting an example as a top employer and a pioneer of the dual training system as well as a comprehensive commitment to vocational and advanced training. Heizmann said that the Group would be continuing its long-term education programs "Green Future Environmental Education Initiative" and "Volkswagen Road Safety TV Education."