Two VW Plants Slated for China

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On July 7, 2014, Volkswagen announced that it will be opening two facilities in China to increase production of VW’s around the world. In collaboration with the FAW Group Corp., two plants will be built—one in Qingdao and one in Tianjin. In total, VW and FAW are Car Porduction Lineestimating a $2.72 billion budget to bring the plants to completion. VW President in China Jochem Heizmann says, “With these investments, Volkswagen is clearly expressing its commitment to the Chinese market.”

Already, the country is the biggest market for VW vehicles, with over 33 percent of all cars on the road in 2014 being Volkswagens. Between January and May of this year, there was an 18 percent spike in VW cars sold in China, bringing the record-breaking total to 1.5 million sold in the first half of the year. VW has also announced that $18.2 billion euros will be injected into the economy between today and 2018 to further optimize production capacity in the country with a goal of having four million new VW’s on Chinese roads.

Letting the Ink Dry

The deal was signed in Beijing with Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, meeting with Chinese premier Li Keqiang to seal the agreement. There’s already one joint VW car manufacturing plant in China, shared between VW and SAIC Motor Corp. (A Shanghai-based company), but these additional plants are said to have what it takes to secure VW’s dominance in the Chinese market.

According to Martin Winterkorn, CEO of VW, “China has become our largest and most important market. To satisfy the demands of our customers in the country, we are engaging in a further substantial expansion of our capacities in China together with our Chinese partner FAW Volkswagen.” Back in April, Winterkorn went on record to say that he expects a 10 percent increase in Chinese deliveries at the end of this year compared to 2013.

Eyeing the Competition

What wasn’t explicitly stated was that this is a big move in the right direction to take down Toyota Motor Corp. as the biggest automaker in the world. A number of automakers, like VW, are building Chinese factories in order to deliver more easily to the second biggest economy in the world. There will be over one billion Chinese drivers in 10 to 15 years, and everyone wants a slice of that demographic.

With a diverse inventory of models—and already having secured the love of Chinese residents—Volkswagen already has an edge over the competition when it comes to being the golden automaker of the country.

VW+MoMA: The Perfect Match

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For years, Volkswagen and the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) have forged close ties. A strong supporter of the arts, Volkswagen really stepped up to the plate after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Big Apple. While the mega car manufacturer has Museum of Modern Art delved deeply into many relief efforts, the company is now supporting the Rockaway! Arts festival which is being held from June 29, 2014 until September 1. The festival takes place at Fort Tilden on the Rockaway peninsula.

MoMA was invited to participate by the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy. MoMA played a big role in designing the festival, which is being hosted by the National Park Services (NPS). The showcase will feature historic and natural beauty of the region as an adornment for the RAA public gallery which has displayed similar themes for the last 19 years.

What Do VW and MoMA Have in Common?

The director of MoMA PS1, Klaus Biesenbach, has been collaborating with artists—such as Patti Smith—to mark the re-opening of Fort Tilden, as well as bring attention to the continuous recovery efforts. Some of the featured artists will include Adrian Villa Rojas as well as Janet Cardiff. Biesenbach says, “Together with Volkswagen, MoMA PS1 was able to establish the VW Dome 2 in Rockaway Beach immediately following Hurricane Sandy. Rockaway! is an ongoing effort to continue museum and cultural support in the area. I feel strongly that Volkswagen Group of America is our greatest partner to achieve this important work.”

As for Volkswagen? The company couldn’t agree more. VW’s Executive Vice President David Geanacopoulos says, “Our project support underlines our ongoing commitment towards social responsibility and sustainability. The partnership helped us to directly support those suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As a next step, we strengthen the efforts of organizers in raising awareness for artists and their inspirational works that address ecological changes.” VW and MoMA have been partnering for three years after Volkswagen endowed the VW Dome 2, which is a cultural and support center.

Great Results

So far, over 20 art and education projects have resulted from the partnership. VW is also supporting Christoph Schlingensief’s exhibition at MoMA, as well as Sigmar Polke’s and the Summergarden: New Music for New York concert series. As this beautiful friendship continues to thrive and blossom, many VW fans aren’t surprised—after all, Volkswagen creates works of art for the road. Clearly, VW has an eye and appreciation for style and design.