Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel today visited the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg as Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen and representatives of Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corporation signed a contract to build a new plant in Urumqi, Western China.
A total of €170 million will be invested in the new plant, which will have a capacity of 50,000 vehicles starting in 2015. Volkswagen will also help automotive suppliers to settle near what is the capital of Xinjiang province, and will build its own training center.
The Volkswagen Group and China First Automobile Group Corp (FAW) also agreed on plans to extend the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture originally set up in 1991 by another 25 years. In 2011, market leader General Motor’s China sales were at 2.55 million and Volkswagen Group was second at 2.26 million.
“A 30-year success story unites Volkswagen and China. As a pioneer of the Chinese automotive industry we gave important momentum to China’s industrial development and to German-Sino economic relations,” said Winterkorn.
The People’s Republic of China is the Volkswagen Group’s largest sales market. Volkswagen deliveries in China increased by 15.6% to more than 633,000 units in the first three months of this year in a market that was down 1.7%. The two joint ventures, Shanghai-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen, have a total workforce of 50,000, and produce vehicles, gearboxes, chassis and engines at ten plants.