VW to invest €1.6 billion in China plants

Volkswagen said Monday it would increase its investment in China by €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) over the next two years, building two new production sites.

VW to invest €1.6 billion in China plants
Photo: DPA

“Due to the dynamic development of the Chinese car market, Volkswagen is raising its current investment programme in China by an additional €1.6 billion” through to 2012, Europe’s biggest automaker said in a statement.

The added investment brings the carmaker’s total planned investment in China for the period to €6 billion.

Last year, VW earmarked some €4.4 billion in investment for China by the end of 2012, a market enjoying growth that has “exceeded all expectations,” according to Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s chief executive.

In the first three months of 2010, VW delivered 457,259 vehicles to clients in China and Hong Kong, a gain of 61 percent on the same period last year.

“We will achieve on time our long-term aim of doubling our sales in China to two million units,” said VW’s head of Chinese operations, Winfried Vahland.

In 2009, VW sold 1.4 million vehicles in China, which has become an even bigger market for the automaker than its home base of Germany. Globally, VW sold six million cars last year.

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Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

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