Saturday 31 October 2015

VW reassures the US and China

In the wake of its diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen has reaffirmed its planned investments at the Chattanooga location and production of an all-new SUV for the US market.

Accordingly, VW is investing US$600 million in the State of Tennessee and creating an additional 2,000 jobs in the USA.

Production of the new midsize SUV in Chattanooga is due to begin at the end of 2016.

"This clear commitment to the Chattanooga location confirms our engagement in North America and our confidence in the local team. More than ever, we must and will focus on the specific wishes of our US customers so that we can offer them vehicles that are not only convincing, but also inspirational. Step by step, that is how we want to win back trust in the Volkswagen brand," said Michael Horn, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America.

"The United States of America is still one of Volkswagen's most important markets," he added.

Aside from investment in production of the new vehicle, which is based on the CrossBlue study, a National Research & Development and Planning Centre is currently being built at the Chattanooga site.

The centre will be responsible for steering projects for the North American market, the aim being to create vehicles to meet consumers' changing wishes and expectations even faster and more efficiently by getting closer to the customer.

A further 50,000 square metres is being added to existing space at the site to cater for the logistics capability to produce the new midsize SUV for North America. Production of the SUV will be integrated in the existing factory structures.

Volkswagen has already invested over US$1 billion in its Tennessee plant to date.

Over 2,400 employees work at the plant; the 500,000th US-built Passat rolled off the assembly line in summer. A further element in the Volkswagen brand's North America strategy is a three-row version of the new Tiguan, due to start leaving the assembly line in the Puebla/Mexico plant in 2017.

Meanwhile in China, Volkswagen AG and leading Chinese bank Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) have signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing setting out a long-term strategic partnership.

Matthias Müller, Volkswagen AG chief executive, said: "We are convinced that this cooperation not only benefits our own two organizations throughout the world, but will also add value for our customers, suppliers and dealers." 

ICBC will provide Volkswagen with a wide range of banking services in China and globally.

In the UK, MOT vehicle testers have, for some time, been amazed to find, on the question of VW BlueMotion diesel cars over three years old, how difficult it has been to obtain an emissions register when subjecting the vehicles to UK Government tests. In many cases, vehicles are registering near zero emissions when the engine is run first at idling and then at the required 2,500 rev/min.

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