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Volkswagen's Audi plans to continue investing in Taiwan

Focus Taiwan News Channel (Taipei) - German automaker Audi AG, the luxury brand of Volkswagen AG, plans to keep spending on sales, marketing and services in Taiwan despite an expected contraction in the local luxury car market.

"Whenever I go back to Europe to report, I would say that Taiwan is a great place to invest," Daniel Khoo, managing director of Audi Taiwan Co., told CNA recently at a luncheon hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT).

Since Audi set up a Taiwan branch in 2009, the company has had feedback from many customers in the country, which has contributed to the improvement of its sales and brand image, said Khoo, who is also a director of the ECCT.

He noted that Audi's annual sales in Taiwan have increased from 1,500 units in 2009 to 2,500 units in 2010, 3,500 units in 2011 and 4,000 units last year, thanks to the company's marketing efforts.

Although Taiwan's luxury car market is expected to decline slightly in 2013 from an average of 35,000 units per year, Audi will continue to invest in dealership, marketing and service network to increase its market share, Khoo said.

Audi, the world's second-largest luxury car maker, set up a sales company in Taiwan in February 2009.

The manufacturer aims to more than double its sales figures in Taiwan by 2015 and establish itself as the most attractive premium brand.

Khoo said Taiwan's political stability was one of the key incentives in Audi's decision to establish a sales unit in the country.

The Taiwan government also helped facilitate many of the application procedures, he added.

He said Taiwan can also serve as an operational base for Audi to nurture staff for work in other Asia-Pacific markets because Taiwan has a high quality workforce.

His remarks came in the wake of an announcement in February by Taikoo Motors Ltd., the Taiwanese agent for Volkswagen, that the German company had decided to set up an assembly factory in Taiwan.

Production could start by 2015 if the government approves the investment proposal and offers the required resources, Taikoo Motors said.

Based on Volkswagen's mid- and long-term plans, the first stage of the proposed investment is to acquire 165,000 square meters of land to build a facility that can assemble 50,000 cars per year.

With its assembly plant project, the car maker is hoping to massively increase its Taiwan market share to 15 percent, which would put it only behind the number one seller, Toyota.

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