FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Volkswagen Group says it has signed a cooperation agreement with partner SAIC Motor Corp. to ensure the production and research and development of electric and plug-in hybrid cars in China.
VW said in a statement it has agreed to expand the main plant of the Chinese joint venture Shanghai Volkswagen in Anting, to the west of Shanghai. VW said that within the next four years, a new electric vehicle model based on the JV’s Chinese bestseller, the Lavida, is due to roll off the production line at the plant.
The German automaker also said over the next four years, it plans to localize more than 15 different electric vehicle models in China, including plug-in hybrids and fully-electric vehicles. Research activities in the field of fuel cells and plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be intensified as well.
It was also agreed that a new compact model from the core VW brand would be produced at the Anting plant from 2016.
These agreements form part of the total investment of 22 billion euros ($25 billion) in China planned by the group together with its joint ventures by 2019.
Together with its joint ventures Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen, VW delivered a total of 3.7 million vehicles in China in 2014, representing an increase of 12.4 percent over the previous year.
Volkswagen has 29 group vehicle and component production locations in China.