A day after attending the Shanghai International Auto Show, our host Volkswagen Philippine took us to a plant familiarization tour of SAIC-Volkswagen’s massive manufacturing plant in Anting, Shanghai. It was about an hour’s drive from our place in Shanghai.
Established in 1984, the Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co.,now known as SIAC Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd., is a joint venture between Volkswagen AG (40 percent) and SAIC Motor (50 percent), with Volkswagen China holding 10-percent interest.
The media delegation was welcomed by Immo Buschmann, senior director for sales of SAIC-Volkswagen. According to Buschmann, the Anting facility is divided into three massive structures that houses Volkswagen’s advanced auto manufacturing processes. “What you see here, in terms of automotive manufacturing is similar to that in Germany. We strictly adhere to the manufacturing standards of our plant in Germany so the quality is the same, as in our other plants across the globe,” he explained. The Anting facility manufactures Volkswagen and Skoda vehicles.
Our group was accorded the privilege of seeing how a Volkswagen vehicle is made, from its advanced laser online measuring equipment, laser-welding technology and up to the plant’s advanced ESTA automatic painting equipment and full immersion pre-treatment process.
From 2005 to 2018, the SAIC-Volkswagen group became the first automotive venture in China to sell more than 4.2 million units in China.
“This is significant because the share of China in the global car market accounts for 27.5 percent and in 2018, we were able to hit a record mark,” said Buschmann. He also revealed that SAIC-Volkswagen have also made a $2.5-billion investment to boost production and once finished, is expected to produce some 300,000 cars a year. It will increase production of various variants from Volkswagen’s umbrella firms such as Skoda and Audi starting in 2020. To be referred to as the New Energy Vehicle (NEV) plant, the Anting facility will also manufacture Volkswagen’s line-up of electric vehicles.
“The Volkswagen group invested 34 billion euros for the development and production of e-mobility vehicles. 10 Billion euros will be funneled into the Chinese market,” Buschmann said.
Previously, Audi was produced in China by FAW, another VW AG partner. The new Anting plant would focus on the production of all-electric and plug-in hybrid models, which would be based on the all-new MEB platform. Battery packs will also be built on an assembly line at the plant. This would boost Volkswagen’s dominance in China’s fast-growing NEV market.
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