Volkswagen AG plans to invest 14 billion euros ($18 billion) in China over the next four years, its China chief was quoted by the China Daily newspaper as saying, as it speeds up its expansion in the world's largest autos market.
Volkswagen, which produces cars in China in partnership with SAIC Motor Corp and FAW Group, is building four plants in the country, the newspaper said, citing the German automaker's China chief Jochem Heizmann.
Volkswagen sold 2 million cars in China in January-September, up 18.3 per cent and more than double the overall industry growth.
By 2018, Volkswagen's China annual capacity will reach at least 4 million vehicles, Heizmann told the China Daily, adding the group's workforce, including those at joint ventures, would rise to 85,000 within 3-5 years from 50,000 now. Heizmann was at the Guangzhou autoshow on Thursday.
The German automaker will also build plug-in hybrid cars in China within 2-3 years and make plug-in hybrid powertrains, he added. Encouraged by Beijing's initiative to put 5 million electric and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2020, foreign automakers are gearing up to tap the potential for green cars in China.
General Motors Co, which already sells its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt in China, this week rolled out its first China-developed electric car, the Sail Springo EV. Nissan Motor Co Ltd is also promoting its Leaf electric car with local governments and will expand the effort to include its Venucia e30 China-only electric car - made at its joint venture with Dongfeng Automobile Co Ltd - next year.
Globally, Volkswagen, jostling with Toyota Motor Corp as the world's number-one automaker, is expected to increase spending by 12 per cent to as much as 70 billion euros for its 12 brands over the next five years, compared with 62.4 billion euros for 2012-16 agreed a year ago, analysts have said.
That would be a record, but also represent a slowdown. The 62.4 billion euro target was more than a fifth higher than over the 2011-15 period.