CHICAGO Volkswagen Group will invest 50 billion ($64.6 billion) over the next three years to build new plants and upgrade older facilities, as well as develop new models and environmentally friendly technologies.
"Despite the challenging economic environment, these investments are the key to Volkswagens innovation and technology leadership. It enables us to further strengthen our competitive position and ensure that we are fit for the future," VW chairman Martin Winterkorn said.
Investments in property, plants and equipment will account for 39.2 billion ($50.65 billion), 60 percent of which will be spent in Germany "to ensure our 27 German production facilities remain at the forefront of innovation and international competitiveness," Winterkorn said.
In particular, VW will continue to press ahead with the development of hybrid and electric motors using flexible platform production systems.
One of the major production investments will be in San José Chiapa, Puebla, Mexico, where the Audi brand will use North Americas "enormous growth potential even more systematically," Winterkorn said.
The Mexican plant, which will assemble the Audi Q5 by early 2016, "provides us with an ideal basis from which to intensify our global growth," Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said. "A stable economic growth of up to 5 percent a year makes Mexico the growth engine of Latin America. Competitive cost structures and diverse free-trade agreements with North and South American markets and with Europe will help us further increase our sales."
Preparations for construction have already been completed, and work on the first buildings should begin as early as spring 2013.