The Volkswagen Group is expanding its production capacity as planned in the world’s largest auto market with the opening of Shanghai-Volkswagen’s new plant in Ningbo, south eastern China. The plant is designed for an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.
The Ningbo plant located some 150 km south of Anting (greater Shanghai area) will create 5,700 new jobs. With its own press, body and paint shops, plus a final assembly unit, production gets underway with the new Skoda Superb. Volkswagen and Skoda models based on the MQB platform will follow in the next stage.
The new plant is claimed to set new standards for sustainable, resource-efficient car production in China. Advanced processes and measures to reduce energy consumption are key elements in this strategy. For example, steam from the condensers is used to heat water. Water consumption in the paint shop is cut by 90% compared with conventional processes, and annual CO2 emissions are reduced by 15,000 tonnes.
The Ningbo factory is VW’s 16th in China and Shanghai-Volkswagen’s fifth plant. The joint venture currently operates factories 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. In 2012, the company and its partners (Shanghai-Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen) delivered 2.81 million vehicles in China. In the first nine months of this year, deliveries rose by 18% to 2.36 million vehicles. The group is aiming to expand annual production capacity to around four million vehicles by 2018.