While the timetable is uncertain, German carmaker Volkswagen will make an all-new Chinese-brand electric car called the Kaili at its joint venture with FAW Group in China. The car was recently certified by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the company said.
Volkswagen revealed earlier this year that it was in talks with its partners to develop a new, local brand specifically for Chinese consumers, but declined to reveal specifics about the segment or which of its local partners would help produce the new nameplate.
Wen Jiyong, a spokesman at Volkswagen China, confirmed that Kaili is the new local brand mentioned earlier and its intellectual property belongs to the joint venture. But he declined to provide information on the model type, market positioning or price range of the new electric car.
Unconfirmed local media reports said FAW Volkswagen might produce the car at its new plant in Foshan, Guangdong province announced last June. The facility is designed to have annual production capacity of 200,000 cars when completed in 2013.
Analysts said Volkswagen is smart in “killing two birds with one stone” as China’s government is promoting both indigenous brands and new-energy vehicles.
Several foreign carmakers including GM, Nissan and Honda have developed local brands at their joint ventures.
A government draft plan for the electric vehicle industry envisions 5 million new-energy vehicles on the country’s roads by 2020.
Wen said the German automaker’s partnership with SAIC will have another joint venture brand, but again declined to provide details.
According to recent Chinese-language media reports, Zhang Hailiang, managing director of
Shanghai Volkswagen, said the joint venture will develop in the electric vehicle business in two ways – one under the Volkswagen Group brand and another brand by the joint venture.
“We have registered the trademark for the joint venture brand and have started the research and development work,” Zhang was cited as saying.
In addition to possible joint venture brands, Volkswagen announced last year that it will launch its locally built Lavida and Golf electric cars in China in 2013 or 2014.