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Automakers join fight against epidemic

By Cao Yingying | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-02 10:42
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The Audi A6L production line at the FAW-Volkswagen Changchun plant [Photo/Jilin Daily]

Chinese and foreign car companies are making great financial contributions to help combat the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 2,800 in the country.

By the end of February, more than 70 carmakers, auto suppliers and associations had donated more than 900 million yuan ($128.46 million) as well as supplies, including face masks and even ambulances.

German car group Volkswagen AG, with its Chinese joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen, has donated 120 million yuan.

"We have to play our part to prevent this medical disaster from turning into a socioeconomic breakdown," said Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Wollenstein. "Only by doing so, we can minimize the damage to China's foundation for development its prosperous economy."

Volkswagen Group delivered 4.23 million vehicles in China last year, accounting for 38.5 percent of its global sales.

BMW and its joint venture BMW Brilliance have donated 35 million yuan since the outbreak of the epidemic to support virus-prevention efforts.

"We have full trust in the Chinese government that they are capable of managing the crisis and defeating the epidemic," said Jochen Goller, president and CEO of BMW China.

"Furthermore we remain very confident in the medium and long-term business outlook of our No 1 worldwide market."

BMW reopened its offices across the country for business on Feb 17, and BMW Brilliance plants in Shenyang, Liaoning province, have gradually resumed production as well.

Mercedes-Benz and its dealers have donated 300 million yuan to improve epidemic prevention in designated hospitals in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province.

Hubertus Troska, a board member of parent company Daimler AG responsible for China region, said the company will further intensify its social responsibilities and stand with all segments of society to overcome the challenges.

"I firmly believe that with China's commitment and strength, the entire society as well as the Chinese automobile industry will win the battle against the current challenge," he said.

Chinese auto companies have made greater contributions, too.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has set up a special fund of 200 million yuan to help prevent and control the epidemic.

It has donated its 158 MPVs, valued at more than 20 million yuan, to around 10 cities nationwide.

Electric vehicle maker Evergrande has donated 200 million yuan and 5,000 tons of vegetables to Wuhan.

On Feb 10, the company donated another 100 million yuan to the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences for antivirus research and to establish a drug-research fund.

State-owned car company Dongfeng Motor Corporation, its joint ventures and its brands have donated money and supplies valued at more than 82 million yuan.

FAW, with its joint ventures and Hongqi brand, donated 81 million yuna in total.

In addition to the donations, some companies, including GAC, BYD, SAIC-GM-Wuling and Changan, are producing face masks in their plants to provide supplies for epidemic prevention and control.

SAIC-GM-Wuling is aiming to complete 15 production lines by the end of February, which can produce 1.7 million masks every day.

Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said that the auto industry is a highly industrialized industry with a high level of automation and manufacturing capability. He said it is socially responsible to establish mask-production lines while the country is urgently in need.

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