There’s no secret that Chinese carmakers have been caught stealing intellectual property one too many times.
Western carmakers had to put up with this situation in order to protect their huge Chinese profits. Until now, when Volkswagen has semi-publicly accused its longtime partner FAW of stealing designs.
According to a report from Germany’s business daily Handelsblatt, FAW has „systematically and repeatedly” stolen designs of important components including engines and transmissions. However, there’s little VW can do about it. The same report reveal that Volkswagen managers caught FAW stealing designs for the Volkswagen transmission MQ200, quoting several anonymous VW managers as sources.
This was not the first case of this kind. In 2010, VW blueprints were used to copy the EA 111 engine. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn complained to FAW boss Xu Jianyi who apologized, saying it was an oversight by an engineer. Despite the apology, FAW later built a factory in Changchun for the copied engine, Handelsblatt reports.
„The plans should not have gotten to the outside. This is no way to cooperate, trust is being violated,” a VW manager told the newspaper. However, VW is not likely to openly fight against the copy. China is its biggest market, where it plans to sell 4 million vehicles by 2018.