Volkswagen AG has confirmed they are looking into a recent report by German daily Handelsblatt which stated allegations that Chinese partner FAW (First Automobile Works) has been imitating VW components in four patents for use in their own cars.

The paper reported last week that FAW apparently copied a part of the patented EA111 engine and that VW suspects FAW of planning to illegally copy the MQ200 gearbox, for use in the FAW Besturn B50 (pictured), which will be exported to Russia. VW is pushing for sales there with subsidiary Skoda and therefore may be in danger of competing directly with itself.

A VW spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires that they will examine the issue, but also pointed out a long-standing, trusting relationship with the Chinese partner.

China is a highly crucial market for VW, where it also collaborates with domestic automaker SAIC (Shanghai Automobile Industry Corporation). In the first half of this year the German company sold 1.3 million cars there – almost a third of its worldwide sales.