German carmaker Volkswagen has announced a shake-up to boost its presence on the Chinese market. The decision follows BMW’s opening of a new production facility in the country.
Volkswagen's supervisory board approved the creation of a board position to manage all business related to China.
The group, which includes Volkswagen as well as Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Skoda and Bentley, said in a statement that the move "reflects China's importance as the world's largest car market."
The China department will be headed by Jochen Heizmann, who leaves his position as the head of the group's truck business.
The group sold 2.3 million cars in China last year, resulting in a 2.6 billion euro ($3.2 billion) operating profit. "We want to further increase our pace there," said chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
With sales in Europe largely flat, German carmakers are increasingly dependent on Chinese demand.
German luxury carmaker BMW last month extended its Chinese operations by opening its second, large production facility in the city of Shenyang.
The new factory, which cost 1 billion euros is the company's most modern worldwide, enabling the automaker to double its capacity in China to 200,000 units this year.
rc/jlw (AP, AFP)