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CHINA: VW opens 16th Chinese factory

By Graeme Roberts | 25 October 2013

Officials applaud at the official opening of the Ningbo plant, VWs 16th in China

Officials applaud at the official opening of the Ningbo plant, VW's 16th in China

Volkswagen Group executives and the usual gaggle of dignitaries from local partner SAIC Motor Corporation and government have officially opened Shanghai-Volkswagen’s new plant in Ningbo, south eastern China.

The plant was designed to build 300,000 vehicles a year.

VW said the new plant, constructed in less than two years, would allow it to tap the full potential of the "huge" market south and west of Shanghai.

The plant, about 150 km south of Anting (in the greater Shanghai area) will create 5,700 new jobs in press, body and paint shops plus final assembly. Production started with the Škoda Superb - VW and Škoda models based on the MQB platform will follow.

VW claims to be setting new standards for sustainable, resource-efficient automobile production in China. Advanced processes coupled with measures to reduce energy consumption and emissions include steam from the condensers heating water in Ningbo. Water consumption in the paint shop is down by 90% compared with conventional processes and annual CO2 emissions are reduced by 15,000 tonnes.

Ningbo is Shanghai-Volkswagen’s fifth vehicle plant. The long established joint venture (VW also has one wih FAW) 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 VW group’s largest market by sales. In 2012, the company and its two JVs delivered 2.81m vehicles. In the first nine months of this year, deliveries rose about 18% year on year to 2.36m.

The plans to expand annual production capacity to 4m by 2018.