Volkswagen’s home market in Europe is in decline and the region’s shrinking demand shows little signs of recovery this year. The market has shrunk by 8% last year and the start of 2013 continues this six-year-long trend. To overcome the gloom over the European market, Volkswagen AG has plans underway to boost investment elsewhere.
The expansion/contingency plan (call it what you will) includes building at least 10 new assembly and manufacturing plants outside of Europe, according to a Detroit News report. Seven of the 10 will be in China alone, where Volkswagen already owns a total of 12 plants so far. The next one will be built in southwestern China, confirmed Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn.
In the US, Volkswagen is considering a second base to operate alongside its existing plant. Following the successful US Passat (pictured above outside the Chattanooga plant, where it’s built), more models designed specifically for the American market will be introduced, chiefly an MQB-based full-size SUV already previewed by the CrossBlue Concept showed in January.
While the remaining two plants are still up for discussion, Volkswagen isn’t about to abandon its European roots just yet. Within the next three years, it will invest a further €33 billion in Europe, where over 70% of its employees are based.