Volkswagen may outsource production of some of its best-selling cars in China to relieve pressure on a Shanghai plant working overtime to keep pace with soaring car sales, a spokesman told Reuters.

Shanghai Volkswagen, a joint venture plant, made 32,200 cars in April, up 25% on the year, the spokesman told the news agency. Sales in the first four months jumped 80% to 128,214, but that was markedly slower than the market's overall expansion.

According to Reuters, citing state media, Chinese car output - which corresponds very closely with actual sales - leapt 110% in the first four months from a year ago to 565,400.

"Because of production constraints we could well outsource manufacture of some models, including the Santana and Gol," Shanghai Volkswagen spokesman Lu Jun told Reuters.

"We are considering 10 possible sites, one of which is Yizheng," Lu reportedly said, declining to name the other places. "They have to be close to Shanghai."
Reuters noted that Shanghai Automotive Co. Ltd., a listed arm of Volkswagen's partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, already assembles multi-purpose vehicles at a plant in Yizheng, which is in Jiangsu province adjacent to Shanghai.

Volkswagen's sales this year are expected to race up to 600,000 from 513,000 in 2001, helped by the launch of new and revamped models, including the Golf compact car and a new version of the Shanghai-built Polo, the news agency added.