of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China. This plant is the Group's 119th global facility and its 20th in China.
"China is not only the Volkswagen Group's largest and most important market; it has also become the Group’s second home market. We intend to develop the entire country as a company with local roots," said Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann. "The plant in Changsha is a key step in our 'Go South' strategy in China. This new facility will bring us nearer to our Chinese customers and also improve the quality of our supply chain."
The new plant in Changsha is about 900 km to the west of Shanghai. Production of the Volkswagen New Lavida is beginning there after only two years of construction. Other models of the Volkswagen and Skoda brands are to follow. The total capacity of the plant is about 300,000 vehicles per year. The plant is creating more than 4,000 new jobs, together with 4,000 more in the neighbouring supplier park.
The Changsha plant is the first production facility of the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint-venture to receive the 'Triple-Star Green Building Design Award', the highest state award for environmentally compatible factory design. Due to a dry painting system ('E-scrub'), water and energy consumption will be reduced by more than 20 per cent. Excess paint particles are filtered out in an environmentally compatible way by an electrostatic precipitator system. In addition, fresh water consumption in production has been reduced by 20 per cent compared with conventional processes by using rainwater and recycled production water. Solar facilities at the plant generate more than 10,000 MWh of environmentally compatible power. Further power is generated by local hydroelectric plants. Production at the Changsha vehicle plant will therefore be carbon-neutral.