Located in Anting, Shanghai, the 610,000 sq m plant is to produce luxury Audi models and is said to represent a key step for the carmaker to diversify production from its long-standing local partner, China FAW Group Corp. Reportedly, this shift has been delayed due to local resistance from car dealers.

SAIC Volkswagen said the new plant, equipped with over 1,400 Industry 4.0 standard robots, would have an annual capacity to make 300,000 cars and is to begin production from 2020. Between January and September 2018, Audi sold 481,387 vehicles in China, its largest market.

The plant will produce cars and battery systems based on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), a unique platform specifically designed for mass production of electric drives. “By building the first factory specifically designed for MEB production, we are opening a new chapter for the Chinese car industry together with our joint venture partner SAIC Volkswagen. We are strengthening our activities in China’s fast-growing e-mobility market”, said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group. In addition to new SUV models from Volkswagen and Audi, the vehicles currently manufactured on the MQB platform are gradually being electrified.

VW says the new facility will also “further the Volkswagen Group’s vision for Industry 4.0, delivering improved automation rates, efficiency and a high production capacity.”