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VW China chief says in talks with five potential battery cell suppliers

People pass in front of a Volkswagen logo ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show, in Shanghai, China April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Volkswagen wants to broaden its base of battery cell suppliers in China beyond CATL and is reviewing five companies to see whether they can meet quality and volume requirements for the multi-brand group.

"We are working with five battery cell suppliers qualifying them to group level. With one or two of them it may lead to more close cooperation. In China we have chosen to do this with Chinese players," Stephan Woellenstein (55), CEO of Volkswagen China Passenger Cars said in Shanghai on Monday.

The push to broaden the company's supplier base reduces VW Group's dependency on CATL as its main supplier, Woellenstein said at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Volkswagen needs 160 Gigawatt hours of battery cell capacity as part of a mass production push into electric cars, Woellenstein said.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Tassilo Hummel)