Interview: Volkswagen eyes more cooperation opportunities in China
Visitors walk by a FAW-Volkswagen new energy vehicle during the 19th China (Changchun) International Automobile Expo in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, July 18, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Jian)
CHANGCHUN, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- China is the most important market for Volkswagen, and the company will seek more cooperation opportunities in the country in the future, Oliver Blume, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
In 2022, Volkswagen delivered more than 3.18 million vehicles in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong markets. Among them, 206,500 new-energy vehicles were delivered, up 37.1 percent year on year, with the delivery of pure electric models up 68.2 percent year on year.
"We have a strong product lineup in China, such as Audi and Porsche, and we hope to continue expanding our product lineup, taking advantage of new technologies and developing new products," Blume said.
Volkswagen has several partners in China, including China FAW Group Co., Ltd., founded in 1953 in the northeastern city of Changchun, capital of Jilin Province and regarded as the cradle of China's auto industry.
In recent years, Jilin has been actively developing the auto industry clusters to accelerate the transformation and upgrading of the industry. According to the provincial government's latest plan, the scale of Jilin's auto industry is expected to reach one trillion yuan (about 148.96 billion U.S. dollars) by 2025.
"We have had very successful cooperation with FAW Group over the past 30 years, and we will continue working hard and cooperating sincerely in the future," said Blume.
In 2022, FAW Group achieved vehicle sales of 3.2 million units, with operating revenue hitting 630 billion yuan and profits topping 49 billion yuan.
Last November, Blume visited China with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and held important meetings with Chinese government officials to discuss future cooperation.
After the Spring Festival holiday, he scheduled another trip to China, visiting the cities of Changchun, Shanghai and Hefei this week. He hopes to gain a better understanding of the market and frontier technologies, and to gain new potential partners in the country.
In Blume's view, it is not only the Chinese market that they find very important, but also the cooperation opportunities in China, especially in the high-tech and electric transformation sectors. At the end of last year, Volkswagen announced its partnership with Chinese automotive chip company Horizon Robotics.
"Such partnerships will become more and more important in the future, and working with partners will help us integrate into Chinese society more deeply," said Blume.
In recent years, new-energy vehicles have been expanding their market share in China. Data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that China's new-energy vehicle production and sales reached nearly 7.06 million units and 6.89 million units, respectively, in 2022.
Blume said that in the next few years, Volkswagen will maintain its success in the fuel car market while focusing on the pure electric vehicle market in China.
Blume is also bullish about the Chinese economy in 2023. "The market situation will continue to change this year, and China will maintain positive growth. Especially in the second half of the year, the market will recover more strongly," he said.