Volkswagen refuses to shut down Xinjiang plant despite pressure
Volkswagen has affirmed the decision to keep operating its factory in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region despite pressure from the German government.
Stephan Wöllenstein, Volkswagen China’s departing chief executive officer, on Friday made a commitment to keep the German auto giant’s Xinjiang plant running but at reduced levels, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The decision was made following a discussion between Volkswagen and its Chinese joint venture partner, state-owned SAIC Group, according to Wöllenstein.
“We both came to the conclusion that it is very difficult to close a factory and to open it thereafter,” he said, referring to a conversation he had with Chen Hong, chairman of SAIC.
The two parties came to the conclusion after weighing up the pros and cons of shutting down the factory in Xinjiang for political reasons.
The plant now manufactures two vehicle models and hires about half the labor force it used to, with ethnic minorities making up more than a quarter of its staff, Wöllenstein noted.