BEIJING Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and FAW Group have agreed to extend their partnership beyond its expiration date of 2016, the German automaker said on Thursday, brushing aside reports by some German media outlets that FAW infringed on Volkswagen's intellectual property rights.
The joint venture, which makes Volkswagen and Audi cars, will also expand its product portfolio, Volkswagen said, without elaborating.
The extension comes just days after Volkswagen committed to invest 14 billion euros ($18.07 billion) in China over the next four years. It also highlights the importance of the Chinese market where General Motors (GM.N) and other carmakers are increasing their presence.
In a brief statement, VW said neither of the venture partners had infringed on one another's rights in the past years. That was VW's first public clarification since German media earlier in the year accused FAW of infringing on Volkswagen's intellectual property rights, citing sources.
Volkswagen also operates a car venture in China SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS).
($1 = 0.7746 euros)
(Reporting by Fang Yan in BEIJING and Kazunori Takada in SHANGHAI; Editing by Matt Driskill)
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