SHANGHAI - Top European carmaker Volkswagen plans to build its fifth plant in China along with its Chinese partner, with an initial annual production capacity of at least 200,000 units, the 21th Century Business Herald said on Wednesday.
The new facility, based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, will make Volkswagen's Seat model, the newspaper said citing an unnamed executive from Volkswagen's China operations.
Volkswagen and FAW Group already operates four plants in the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Changchun and Chengdu, making Jetta, Bora, Golf, Sagitar, Audi among others. The automaker also has a tie-up with SAIC Motor Corp making Passat, Santana, Polo and Skoda models.
Volkswagen's China spokesman said he had no knowledge of the new China plant.
Volkswagen, the biggest foreign carmaker in China, is stepping up its presence in the country, which in 2009 overtook the United States as the world's biggest auto market.
It had in late 2009 unveiled a plan to invest 4 billion euros ($5.71 billion) in China till 2011 to expand its production capacity and shore up its R&D.
Winfried Vahland, president and CEO of Volkswagen's China operations, also pledged late last year to more than triple its sales in south China by 2018 as a main driver for its strategy to double sales to 2 million units in the country by that time.
The European automaker sold 1.4 million cars in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2009, up 36.7 percent from a year earlier.
Arch-rival General Motor sold 1.83 million vehicles in the country last year, up 66.9 percent. The total tally, however, included 1.06 million relatively cheaper mini vans and pick-up trucks made at its venture in south China.
(Reporting by Fang Yan and Jacqueline Wong)