Construction completion and first vehicle offline ceremony at Shanghai VW Yizheng

Construction completion and first vehicle offline ceremony at Shanghai VW Yizheng

Volkswagen Group has inaugurated a new plant for Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW) in Yizheng, Eastern China. The plant has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

The plant has begun operations making the Volkswagen Polo and there are plans to add Skoda models in the future.

The opening ceremony was attended Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, who is to be responsible for the new ‘China’ Board of Management function, and Dr. Michael Macht, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG responsible for Group production. On the Chinese side, Hu Maoyuan, Chairman of SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd, was at the ceremony.

Heizmann, who gave the green light for the new plant in July 2010, stressed the good cooperation with the Chinese partners throughout the entire project for the new plant. “With a construction period of two years, we are even opening our new facility in Yizheng earlier than planned. This is one of the most environmentally compatible plants of the Volkswagen Group. With advanced technologies and new production processes, we intend to continue to play an instrumental role in the future of China as an automobile country,” Heizmann said.

Together with Hu Maoyuan (SAIC) and representatives of the government of Jiangsu Province, Heizmann started production of the Volkswagen Polo last week. As the second plant producing this model in China, Yizheng will make production considerably more flexible, VW said. It is also planned to produce Skoda models at the Yizheng plant 'in the next stage'.

The Yizheng plant, located about 300 km to the north-west of Shanghai, will create about 3,700 new jobs in the region. With press, body and paint shops as well as a final assembly unit, the plant has a total capacity of about 300,000 vehicles per year. In addition, a technical testing centre, a training academy to provide initial and advanced training for employees and an energy centre were constructed on the site, which has a total area of about 1.3 million square metres.

Yizheng also uses geothermal energy for the heating and cooling of the factory halls. For recharging transfer trucks at the plant and as well as employees' e-bikes, solar panels are used throughout the plant. Volkswagen says that it is 'setting new standards for sustainable, resource-efficient automobile production in China'.

By 2018, the Volkswagen Group intends to make its worldwide production 25% more environmentally compatible. Advanced production processes coupled with measures to reduce energy consumption are the key elements in this strategy, the company says.

China is the Volkswagen Group's largest sales market. In 2011, Volkswagen delivered 2.26m vehicles to customers in China. In the first half of 2012, deliveries rose by 17.5% to about 1.3m units.

VW Group aims to increase its annual production capacity in China to about 4m units a year  by 2018.