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Interview: VW's Ulrich Hackenberg
Summary:At last week's International Geneva Motor Show, the EO spoke to Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of the VW Board of Management, about the DSG gearboxes and other topics.

By Yang Xiaolin (杨小林)
Automobile, page 33
Issue No. 560, Mar 12, 2012
Original article:

Over the past five years, Volkswagen has become a leading brand in China via its adoption of cutting edge technology and high quality. However, beginning last year VW has faced complaints from Chinese consumers that its DSG gearbox technology is unreliable and inefficient.

Being its largest market worldwide, VW will have take Chinese considerations into mind if it hopes to realize its Strategy 2018 goal of becoming the world's largest manufacturer. At last week's International Geneva Motor Show, the EO spoke to Ulrich Hackenberg, a member of the VW Board of Management, about the DSG gearboxes and other topics.

Economic Observer: "VW will complete its plan to invest 14 billion euros ($18.37b) with its Chinese partners by 2016. What will these investments be used for?"

Dr. Hackenberg: "The majority of investments will be used to build new factories. VW has already decided to build factories in Yizheng (Jiangsu), Foshan (Guangdong) and Ningbo (Zhejiang). We not only are aiming at building automobile factories, but also want to move production of engines, auto parts and other core technologies to China. In addition to these, we will begin other investment projects."

EO: "Does VW have plans to cooperate with Shanghai VW on research and development of new energy vehicle technology?"

Dr. Hackenberg: "Regarding cooperating on electric vehicle research and development, we have already reached a consensus. The details are still being discussed. However, on the issue of research and development for localizing electric vehicles, VW has its own demands. For example, the engine framework must come from Europe, [while] other auxiliary parts, such as battery packs, may come from domestic suppliers."

EO: "Which is more mature, VW's electric vehicle technology or those of Japanese manufacturers?"

Dr. Hackenberg: "In this aspect, VW is increasingly catching up with Japan. Honestly, Japanese enterprises' battery suppliers are technology superior to Germany's. [For] the E-Golf, [which] VW will begin producing in Europe next year, the battery supplier chosen was Japan's Sanyo. This year, we have already begun releasing hybrid versions of the Jetta and Touareg. In the future, VW will bring out plug-in style hybrid models in the US and China."

EO: "VW was the first manufacturer to popularize DSG gearboxes in China. However, from last year some Chinese owners have begun to worry about their reliability. Will this affect VW's resolution to continue using DSG technology in China?"

Dr. Hackenberg: "VW will not change its strategic plan for DSG technology. We have already found a way to resolve the problem at its source, and are working hard to satisfy the demands of Chinese customers. We will actively get in touch with unsatisfied owners and effectively explain the problem to them. Fixing these problems is not hard at all."

This is an edited version of a translation published on Gasgoo.com.


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