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The Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) has chosen Volkswagen China and its associated companies as the Beijing 2008 Partner (Automobile).

Volkswagen will provide financial, automotive and other types of support for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, BOCOG, the China Olympic Committee, as well as the Chinese Olympic teams participating in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games and 2008 Olympic Games.

“We are very excited and proud of being appointed the official partner for the Olympics in Beijing, and at the same time, we are aware that it is also a responsibility and challenge for us,” said VW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder.

In a statement, the company claimed to be the largest and most successful international partner of the motor industry in China and added that the market is a key component of its global strategy and will gain strategic importance in the future.

VW has just announced further investment in new engine plants, as well as a new car plant, and will now begin to focus on exports of cars from China, having begun with the shipment of a few hundred Polo sedans to Australia earlier this year.

In 2003 the Volkswagen Group sold around 36% more cars in China than in the previous year with around 697,000 vehicles from the Volkswagen and Audi brands, for a market share of over 30% but is coming under increasing threat from rivals, such as Ford and GM, which both announced plans to triple capacity this week, while Japanese carmakers are also increasingly active in the country.

Honda already has a joint venture in the works specifically to build cars for export.

Volkswagen currently has three joint ventures in China. The Golf, Bora, Jetta and Audi A6 and A4 models are produced at FAW-Volkswagen in Northern China. Shanghai Volkswagen (SVW) builds the Passat, Santana, Santana Variant, Santana 3000, Touran, Polo and Gol and another joint venture assembles gearboxes for vehicles built by FAW-Volkswagen and SVW.