The Volkswagen Group has inaugurated its newest joint venture plant in Ningbo, China. The inauguration was graced by Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of Volkswagen AG; Jochem Heizmann, Member of the carmaker’s Board of Management and President and chief executive of Volkswagen Group China; and Hu Maoyuan, chairman of SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd.
Shanghai-Volkswagen’s Ningbo plant is designed to produce up to 300,000 vehicles annually and will create 5,700 new jobs. The site features its own press, body and paint shops plus a final assembly unit and will build the new Skoda Superb.
The plant will soon produce Volkswagen and Skoda vehicles underpinned by the MQB platform. The new plant will demonstrate Volkswagen’s resource-efficient auto production, setting new standards in China. The plant -- Shanghai-Volkswagen’s fifth vehicle plant -- will exhibit advanced processes along with measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
For instance, steam from the condensers will be used to heat water. Water consumption in the paint shop is also reduced by 90 percent while annual carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by 15,000 tons . Shanghai-Volkswagen also operates plants in Anting, Nanjing, Yizheng, Jiangsu province, and Urumqi, Xinjiang region, which started its production a few weeks ago.
The joint venture also has another site due for completion in 2015, located in Changsha, south central China. Volkswagen Group considers China as its largest sales market, after the carmaker, along with partners Shanghai-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen, sold 2.81 million vehicles in the country. The carmaker posted an 18-percent surge in sales in the first nine months of 2013 to 2.36 million vehicles.
Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said: "This new, state-of-the-art factory is further proof of the Volkswagen Group's comprehensive commitment in China. Here in Ningbo and together with our partners, our pioneering spirit is once again driving economic and technical progress in the Chinese automotive industry. We are working hard to offer our customers in China the best vehicles and most efficient technologies – engineered and made in China. For our Group brands, the Ningbo plant also gives new momentum to tapping the full potential of the huge market south and west of Shanghai." [source: Volkswagen]