Volkswagen creates task force to assess Asian investments

Taipei, March 1 (CNA) German car maker Volkswagen has created a 50-member task force to evaluate the possibility of opening assembly plants in East Asian countries, including Taiwan, its local agent said Friday. Following Volkswagen's opening of an assembly line in Malaysia last year, the company is considering building factories in countries such as Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia to boost market share in Asia, according to Taikoo Motors Ltd. The 50-person task force will conduct cost-benefit analyses of potential factory projects, Taikoo Motors Managing Director Chili Huang said. "Volkswagen is eyeing Taiwan's ties with China to expand its market," Huang said, adding that Volkswagen's goal is to become the world's number one car maker by 2018. The founding of the panel comes after the company re-introduced an investment proposal to the Taiwanese government last month. The plan requested preferential tariff treatment and assistance in acquiring land for a possible assembly line. Volkswagen showed interest in 2010 in building a production facility in Taiwan, but the plan was suspended due to cost concerns. If the deal goes through this time, production could start by 2015, Taikoo Motors said. Volkswagen had a 3.7 share of Taiwan's car market in 2012, ranking seventh among car vendors. It hopes to increase its market share in Taiwan to 15 percent with an assembly line here, which would be second only to Toyota of Japan. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)