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Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.
Volkswagen Steering into Future

German carmaker Volkswagen has promised to launch lots of new models in China and massively cut costs here within the next four years.

The aim is to start making a profit again and prevent its share of the world's No 3 car market sliding further.

The firm plans to bring 10 to 12 new cars into its two joint ventures in China before 2009. The plan is part of a so-called "Olympic Programme", said Winfried Vahland, Volkswagen's global vice-president, at a press conference yesterday in Beijing.

The first of the new products will be launched at the beginning of next month, said Vahland, also chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group China.

The company also expects to cut costs in China by 40 percent by 2008, he said. Methods will include increasing the local content of made-in-China vehicles, slashing local sourcing expenses and unifying the sourcing of its two joint ventures, Vahland added.

Volkswagen, which runs two car ventures, with China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) and First Automotive Works Corp (FAW), has been the market leader in China since it started local production in the 1980s.

However, its market share has tumbled to less than 20 percent from above 50 percent in 2000 due to growing competition from US and Asian rivals after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001.

Volkswagen's China operations will break even or could be in the red this year, Vahland said.

(China Daily October 18, 2005)             

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