IN A MOVE that could see Volkswagen close the hybrid gap on Toyota, Wang Chuanfu of BYD (Build Your Dreams) and Dr Martin Winterkorn of Volkswagen recently signed a 'memorandum of understanding' during a visit by the Chinese manufacturer.
Member of the Board for Technical Development at Volkswagen, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, reportedly shared considerable technical information with a Chinese delegation from BYD during their visit to the Elektrotraktion Technology Centre in Isenb?ttel.
The theme continued at Volkswagen's test tracks in Wolfsburg, which featured technical discussions and test drives of some upcoming VW models and technologies.
BYD, a fledgling Chinese carmaker and - more importantly in this case - a battery specialist, will count Volkswagen as its first major industrial partner.
"Volkswagen will consistently expand its successful ?BlueMotionTechnologies?. Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role, of course.
"Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities," Dr Hackenberg said.
After the presentation, the Chairman of the Board of Management of BYD, Wang Chuanfu, and the Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr Martin Winterkorn, sat down to discuss and sign the memorandum of understanding.
The objective of the document is to explore the possibility of partnerships in the areas of hybrid and electric vehicles in the future.
Volkswagen already offers the popular BlueMotion range in Europe, which couples diesel engines with aerodynamic and technical improvements to gain hybrid-like fuel savings.
TMR recently spoke to Volkswagen Group Australia's Karl Gehring about the BlueMotion range coming to Australia. We were told then that until the technology is available with DSG transmissions (an unlikely event, according to Volkswagen's European heads), we won't be likely to see it here.