TIANJIN, China -- Volkswagen will invest 927 million euros in a second plant in China to produce its dual-clutch transmission for locally built vehicles.
The automaker has received customer complaints about the transmission and last week announced it would extend its warranty on vehicles fitted with the system, which the automaker calls a direct-shift gearbox.
The plant, in the northern China port city of Tianjin, will be built under an agreement the company signed with the local government. Construction will begin in August, according to local officials.
Starting in 2014, the plant will produce 450,000 gearboxes annually, with output eventually rising to 1.35 million a year.
VW opened its first dual-clutch transmission plant in China in 2010 in the northeast port city of Dalian.
Last year, Chinese customers began complaining of abnormal noise, vibration and difficulty in shifting gears in the transmissions.
In response, Volkswagen announced last week that it would extend its warranty in China for vehicles with the transmissions to 10 years or 160,000km, up from four years or 150,000km.
Dual-clutch transmissions are widely used in Chinese-built Volkswagen- and Skoda-brand vehicles.
A dual-clutch transmission works like two automatic transmissions side by side. One clutch serves the odd gears and reverse, and the other serves the even gears.
Dual-clutch technology offers better fuel economy than automatic transmissions, which lose power and fuel economy in the torque converter. Unlike a manual gearbox with a clutch pedal, a dual-clutch transmission has no interruption of power when gears are changed.