BEIJING – Czech automaker Skoda plans to strengthen its position in the Chinese market through a planned €2 billion ($2.3 billion) investment over five years in SAIC Volkswagen Automotive, a Shanghai-based joint venture with Skoda parent Volkswagen.

The European manufacturer aims to double its Chinese sales once the deal is completed, Skoda China President Andreas Hafemann tells WardsAuto. Tomas Kubik, a spokesman for Skoda headquarters in Prague, says the automaker wants to meet this goal by 2020.

To achieve this, the company wants to develop Skoda’s model range in the world’s largest auto market, having signed a memorandum of understanding with VW and SAIC during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Czech Republic in late March.

Acknowledging China is going through a transition period during which an economic slowdown is the “new normal,” Hafemann says he expects to see weaker growth in overall demand within China’s auto market, but he is confident of sales growth for his marque.

Chinese motorists seem keen to buy small, fuel-efficient Skoda cars as the economy starts to slow. The automaker reports selling 281,707 vehicles in China in 2015, up only 0.1% from prior-year, but still accounting for more than one-quarter of the brand’s 1.055 million global deliveries.

In first-quarter 2016, 75,400 Skoda vehicles were sold in the country, up 5.2% year-on-year, according to company data.

Also, last year Skoda produced more than 268,000 vehicles in China, according to its latest annual report, which means the manufacturer built more cars in the country than it sold there.