Volkswagen Group has opened a new plant in Guangdong, China that will be tasked to build the seventh generation of its Golf compact model. The site is part of VW Group’s bid to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. as the largest carmaker in the world in terms of sales. The Guangdong site, which was set up with Chinese partner FAW CAR Co. in Foshan, has an initial production capacity of 300,000 units a year, Volkswagen said in a statement.
The Foshan site will result to 6,500 new jobs in the first phase. In the second phase, the plant’s capacity is expected to double. GM said in March 2013 that it planned to hike its production in China by 60 percent by 2018.
GM saw its deliveries in China grow by almost 50 percent in 2012, allowing it to hike its share of the local passenger vehicle market this year by 3 percentage points to 22 percent by the end of August 2013. The German carmaker posted an 18-percent jump in sales in China in the first eight months to 2.05 million vehicles.
VW disclosed in April plans to expand its model lineup in China by 29 percent by 2015. VW plans to offer 90 cars, SUVs, vans and heavy trucks in China, with target sales of at least 3 million units, according to Jochem Heizmann, head of the carmaker's Chinese operations.
LMC Automotive expects China to account for 37 percent of VW Group’s global volume in 2015. VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn remarked in April that the carmaker’s EUR9.8 billion project to build plants and develop models in China by 2018 will be the country's largest-ever automotive-investment program. During that time, VW will see its workforce grow by 33 percent to over 100,000 employees.