For three decades China and the Volkswagen Group have enjoyed a very special relationship. Volkswagen and its joint venture partners have been instrumental in making the domestic automotive industry a powerful motor of China's strong economic growth.
Today, China - the world's biggest auto market - is the second home to the Volkswagen Group, where it has some 31,000 employees at eight production plants.
Volkswagen's leading market position in China gives strong momentum to the entire group.
Together with its joint ventures Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen, Volkswagen Group China delivered over 457,000 cars to customers in the first quarter of this year, a new all-time high and a rise of almost 61 percent.
Providing the right products for the customers is crucial to maintain this momentum. In 2010, the brands of Volkswagen Group will launch more innovations than ever before in China.
Locally produced cars like the Golf GTI, the Tiguan, the Audi Q5 and the new Skoda Octavia are specially tailored to the needs and wishes of Chinese drivers. And, moreover, they set the pace when it comes to safety, leading edge technologies and sustainable mobility.
By 2018, the Volkswagen Group is aiming to become global No 1 in the automotive industry, both in economic and ecological terms. Its 100 percent commitment to the Chinese market is vital as it seeks to achieve this ambitious goal as Volkswagen Group strive to boost sales in China to well above 2 million vehicles annually in the medium term.
Its joint ventures will invest more than 4 billion euros ($5.39 billion) by 2012 in an unparalleled product offensive and in additional production capacities.
At Auto China 2010, the Volkswagen Group is sending a strong signal: it is presenting the leading edge, most eco-friendly model range and innovative technologies for the future of driving.
Already today, Volkswagen is an industry leader with efficient internal combustion engines, lightweight design, DSG gearboxes and smart electronics.
Its latest TSI, TFSI and TDI engines are the foundation for clean and efficient mobility in China, as elsewhere. This is how Volkswagen China will keep its promise of a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2010.
Now, we are taking the next big step forward by making e-mobility into the second pillar of Volkswagen's sustainable mobility endeavor.
This March, Volkswagen adopted a new global plan for the introduction of e-mobility.
On the basis of this plan, Volkswagen will be the automaker to bring electric cars to the mass market.
Our roadmap for e-mobility in China is a cornerstone of these efforts. Volkswagen is now integrating all its BlueMotion Technologies in local production at both of our joint ventures.
The Touareg Hybrid, recently unveiled in Europe, will be launched in China in early 2011. And we will be bringing hybrid technology to compact and mid-sized cars developed for the Chinese market as well.
Moreover, a demonstration fleet of E-Golf and E-Lavida will be set up in China between 2011 and 2012 and will tour China's major cities, inviting research institutions, government officials, media and consumers to experience our new technologies.
In 2013-14, the first locally produced Volkswagen e-cars will roll off the production lines at our Chinese joint ventures.
These vehicles will not only be environmentally friendly, but also be affordable, reliable and safe, since Volkswagen strongly believes that this is the only way to achieve the breakthrough for zero-emission vehicles.
This all goes to show that the heart of the Volkswagen brand will soon be running on electricity, too. And our entire group is in the fast lane with hybrid and electric vehicles, since Audi, Seat and Skoda are promoting further solutions for the era of e-mobility as well.
Both the government and industry in China are working with great ambition to make the country the spearhead of e-mobility. As an automotive pioneer in China, Volkswagen not only supports this aim, but will also be pressing ahead with this development.
Our China e-mobility strategy presented in Beijing will be a giant step forward in this process: it will help us to make the Volkswagen Group the market leader for e-mobility, too - both world-wide and in China.
The author is chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group