Volkswagen is trying to find out whether partner China FAW Group Corp. illegally copied a VW transmission unit, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The allegations first surfaced in the German business daily Handelsblatt, which claimed that FAW might use VW's MQ200 transmission in models to be sold in Russia.
An FAW spokesman declined to comment on the allegations. A VW spokesman told the WSJ that the company "was examining the situation carefully before coming to any conclusions."
If true, the reports could complicate Volkswagen's ambitious plans for expansion in China. The automaker plans to spend 14 billion euros (109 billion yuan) through 2016 to build assembly plants and introduce new models in China.
VW is channeling that investment through its two joint ventures with FAW and SAIC Motor Corp. In the first six months, FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co.'s vehicle production rose 37 percent to 620,600 units, according to LMC Automotive.