Volkswagen opens new plant in Ningbo, south eastern China

The Volkswagen Group is expanding its production capacity as planned and thereby optimizing the capacity utilization of its production network in China. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, and Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Board of Management and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, were today joined by Hu Maoyuan, Chairman of SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd., to inaugurate Shanghai-Volkswagen’s new plant in Ningbo, south eastern China. The plant is designed for an annual production capacity of 300,000 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.”

Prof. Dr. Heizmann added: “The construction period of less than two years underscores the good cooperation with our Chinese partners. With the new plant in Ningbo, we can now bring new and innovative products based on the Modular Transverse Toolkit to our Chinese customers even faster. Not only that – Ningbo is one of the Volkswagen Group’s most environmentally compatible plants.”

The Ningbo plant located some 150 kilometers south of Anting (greater Shanghai area) will create 5,700 new jobs. With its own press, body and paint shops plus a final assembly unit, the plant has a total annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. Production gets underway with the new ŠKODA Superb. Volkswagen and ŠKODA models based on the Modular Transverse Toolkit will follow in the next stage.

Volkswagen is setting new standards for sustainable, resource-efficient automobile production in China. Advanced processes coupled with measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions are key elements in this strategy. For example, steam from the condensers is used to heat water in Ningbo. Water consumption in the paint shop is cut by 90 percent compared with conventional processes and annual CO2 emissions are reduced by 15,000 tonnes.

The Ningbo factory is Shanghai-Volkswagen’s fifth vehicle plant. The joint venture currently operates vehicle plants in Anting, Nanjing and Yizheng, Jiangsu province. In addition, production at the plant in Urumqi, Xinjiang region, commenced a few weeks ago. A further plant in Changsha, south central China, is scheduled for completion in 2015.

China is the Volkswagen Group’s largest sales market. In 2012, the company and its partners Shanghai-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen delivered 2.81 million vehicles to customers in China. In the first nine months of this year, deliveries rose some 18 percent compared with the same prior-year period to 2.36 million vehicles. The Volkswagen Group is aiming to expand annual production capacity to approx. 4 million vehicles by 2018.