FAW-Volkswagen, the first foreign joint venture in China's automotive industry, reinforced its leadership by opening a new world-class manufacturing plant in South China recently.
"It's a milestone in our successful history in China," said Juergan Unser, vice-president and board member of FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co Ltd.
"The new plant demonstrates Volkswagen's position as China's reliable partner by bringing world-leading auto production guided by a design concept of sustainability."
Located in Foshan, Guangdong province, the plant will produce 300,000 cars annually in the first phase, and the capacity will double in the second phase, which will be a "copy" of the same area and layout of the first phase, Unser said.
"Only in the first phase, the plant will offer 6,500 jobs, cultivate new talent and improve infrastructure for a more prosperous, more innovative and more sustainable auto industry in South China," he said.
When the new production facilities are added to the existing Changchun plant, the company will have a total annual capacity of 2.5 million units by 2020, with a product lineup of more than 20 models, under both the Volkswagen and Audi brands, Unser said.
The production of the first model - the new Golf - started on Sept 25. Up to 100 kg lighter than its predecessor, the new Golf achieves extraordinary fuel-saving performance while enhancing driving pleasure and interior space, Unser said.
"In addition to the products, the plant itself is also the most advanced and environmentally friendly among all Volkswagen manufacturing facilities in the world," Unser said.
He told China Daily that the Foshan plant is the first in China to produce Volkswagen's models that integrate innovative Modular Transverse Matrix, which makes modern and sustainable technologies much more accessible for customers.
"The production line is also one of the most efficient in China with daily production of 1,200 vehicles," Unser said.
More important for Unser, the Foshan plant is the first automotive production facility in China to be awarded with the "Triple-Star Green Building Award" by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development this March.
To further underscore Volkswagen's commitment to sustainable production as well, 100 percent of the plant's treated wastewater is reused and almost 90 percent of all waste and packaging materials from the production process are recycled.
"Through integrating the world's most advanced automatic production lines and technologies, we can achieve 70 percent of automation rate in our welding shop, the highest in China," Unser said.
In the first eight months, FAW Volkswagen's total sales surpassed 1 million units in China, with 700,000 units under Volkswagen brand and 300,000 bearing the Audi marque, two months earlier than last year.
The company was also a sales champion in the passenger car segment for four consecutive months from May to August.
"We have been the most profitable automaker in the past 10 years, as our annual sales in the decade surged by 406 percent to 1.5 million this year," Unser said.
"The success comes from our efforts to provide reliable products with high quality in all segments.
"And in the future, we also aim to be a leader in the CSR area through offering energy-conserving products, efficient and automatic production process as well as building an environmentally friendly plant."