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Volkswagen readies $12bn electric car offensive in China

German automaker aims for annual sales of 1.5m 'new-energy' vehicles by 2025

Volkswagen plans to roll out 40 electric and plug-in-hybrid models in China by 2020.

GUANGZHOU -- Volkswagen and its Chinese partners will invest 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) by 2025 to develop and produce electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the world's biggest auto market, helping ensure it meets the government's looming sales quota for these cars.

VW will introduce 40 or so of what Beijing calls new-energy vehicles in China by that year, according to a plan unveiled Thursday by Jochem Heizmann, the German automaker's chief China executive, ahead of the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.

A joint venture formed earlier this year with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, or JAC, will begin making electric vehicles in the first half of 2018. Full-fledged electric vehicle sales are to begin in the second half.

VW aims to sell 400,000 new-energy vehicles per year in China by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025 -- half its global target for electric vehicles in that year.

VW currently tops China's automobile sales charts, beating General Motors of the U.S. and other rivals on the strength of its combustion-engine models. Its latest investment offensive aims to keep VW in the lead in the electric-car age and achieve China's new-energy vehicle sales mandate starting in 2019  -- a bar that foreign automakers will have to work particularly hard to clear.

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