WOLFSBURG -- Volkswagen AG says it plans to invest 96 billion yuan ($14.06 billion) in its Chinese operations before 2015, an investment intended to maintain its status as China's largest international automaker and an indication of its intention to become the world's largest automaker by 2018.
In a statement posted on its Web site, VW disclosed that it plans to invest 51.6 billion euros (about $61.5 billion) in its global automotive operations over the next five years. VW's China investment -- which is not included in its global total -- will be funded entirely from cash flow generated by the automaker's Chinese joint ventures. Currently, VW maintains two joint ventures with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and the FAW Group. In the first nine months of this year, VW's group sales in China totaled 1.4 million units, compared with General Motor Co.'s sales of 798,000, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Several projects in the pipeline
While VW's statement did not offer details of its planned China investment, the company has already announced several projects. This year, VW outlined a four-year, 6 billion euro plan to build two new Chinese assembly plants, double its production to 3 million units and add new models.
The VW brand is currently China's best-selling brand, while its Audi cars are the country's most popular luxury brand. Volkswagen is also starting to build its Skoda cars in China. Last week, Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland told a Skoda union newsletter that he wants to raise annual China production to 500,000 units, up from 131,800 units last year. He did not offer further details about Skoda's plans in China.