China is our second home – thanks to Carl H. Hahn

by Herbert Diess   2018-11-26

Source: Company News Release

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This week, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of “Audi in China” in Changchun – the partnership between Audi and FAW has existed for three decades now. Changchun isn’t a place most people are familiar with. But it’s a highly modern metropolis with 8 million people in Northern China – and one of the centers of the Chinese automobile industry. Together with FAW, we produce models there such as the A6, Q5 and the VW Magotan. It was a powerful and emotional anniversary celebration. One thing that I really liked about the event was that it focused on new challenges and not on past successes. One of these challenges is the transition to e-mobility, something that Audi is tackling with the first completely electric car built just for China. 

One individual who simply could not have missed the celebration was Carl H. Hahn, the man with whom the success of the Volkswagen Group in China is so closely connected. As CEO, Professor Hahn boldly promoted the internationalization of our company in the 1980s and 1990s – and was one of the first executives to see and tap the tremendous potential that China offers the automotive industry. There were many skeptics back then who couldn’t at all picture China as an automaking country. But he championed the Volkswagen Group against all odds. I was really impressed by the way that Professor Hahn was truly venerated in China as a pioneer and a co-founder of the modern automotive industry in the country. Today, we can still learn something from his far-sightedness and entrepreneurial spirit. 

Since our two major joint ventures – Shanghai Volkswagen (1984) and FAW-Volkswagen (1991) – were established, more than 35 million Chinese customers have purchased a model made by the Volkswagen Group. About 100,000 people are employed by the Volkswagen Group China and our joint ventures. An additional 380,000 work for dealers in the country. Last year, we delivered 4.2 million vehicles in China and are the No. 1 automaker in the world’s largest automotive market with a market share of 14 percent. 

We have to work hard in the next years to continue to defend our success even in the future. The competition is intensifying in China. New local manufacturers are pushing their way into the business with innovations, well-made models and great financial resources. And there’s a reason China is so near and dear to our hearts: In 2018, FAW and we opened four new plants: in Foshan, Tianjin, Qingdao and Changchun. This will create additional annual capacity of more than 1 million vehicles. We are planning further expansion by 2023 of 1.8 million engines and 2.7 million vehicles annually, many of which will be electric. We want to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in China and thereby maintain the pioneering spirit of Carl H. Hahn. 

Dr. Herbert Diess is Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand and will soon be responsible for the China Board of Management Division. The above was posted on Dr. Diess’ LinkedIn account on November 24. – Editor 

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