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Strategic cooperation: Chinese battery manufacturer negotiates with VW

2020-01-20T10:40:01.058Z

ZEIT ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates



Beijing / Wolfsburg (dpa) - The Chinese battery manufacturer Guoxuan is negotiating with Volkswagen about a possible collaboration. So far, however, no concrete steps have been planned.

It should generally be about technology, products and capital, it said in a message from the company on Monday. So far, neither side has reached an agreement on a specific cooperation, its methods and content, prices and other aspects.

VW did not want to comment on the talks with Guoxuan last Friday. The group plans to significantly expand its electric car fleet in the coming years, but - at least in the medium term - will primarily use its own components instead of external supplies. Guoxuan said that no obligation or other arrangement for cooperation with the Wolfsburgers had been signed. "There is significant uncertainty about the aforementioned matters," said a report that Volkswagen wanted to acquire a 20 percent stake in the company and thus become the second largest owner after founder Li Zhen.

China, as the most important car market in the world, is extremely important to VW. This year alone, the group plans to spend more than 4 billion euros with its joint venture partners in the country - 40 percent of which should flow into e-mobility. The goal is to be able to deliver 1.5 million electric cars to China in 2025.

The auto business had recently cooled off significantly in the People's Republic - also due to the overall not as high economic growth. The VW group got off relatively well compared to some other manufacturers: last year, deliveries of the group brands in the Middle Kingdom increased again slightly by 0.6 percent to a total of 4.234 million cars. This now corresponds to almost 40 percent of global sales.

Because German manufacturers have so far been heavily dependent on battery cell suppliers from East Asia, VW wants to rely primarily on its own components in the future. From this spring onwards, the company will set up a cell production facility in Salzgitter with its Swedish partner Northvolt. A pilot plant is already running there. In Braunschweig, the first of two production lines for own battery systems has already started. And the VW plant in Kassel is responsible for large parts of the electric drives.

However, it will take some time before the company's own components are available in large quantities worldwide. The expansion of further cooperations could therefore be an intermediate step. The medium-sized manufacturer Guoxuan, founded in 1998, is based in Hefei in the province of Anhui, where Volkswagen wants to build electric cars in a joint venture with the Chinese automaker JAC.

Guoxuan Notice, Chinese

Source: zeit

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