US: Vw to increase Passat production image

Volkswagen of America is prepared to expand production of the U.S. Passat less than four months after building its first one.

VW brand sales in the USA are growing nearly twice as fast as the overall new-vehicle business – up 22.3% the first half this year, in a market up 12.8%, according to sales tracker Autodata.

Don Jackson, president of manufacturing for Volkswagen’s manufacturing operations at Chattanooga said Volkswagen expects to build about 150,000 Passats per year at the plant, which opened in May and is capable of making about 220,000 vehicles per year. “We really built it with expansion in mind,” Jackson said.

The new Passat, is $7,180 cheaper that the old one that was imported and the automaker says that more than 85% of the cost savings for the big price cut came from moving production to the U.S., so both costs and revenue are in dollars.

However, the automaker does not have plans to offer the Passat Wagon in North America. Despite reports of the Passat wagon undergoing testing in the U.S, the vehicle was never intended to be sold here.

On the same time, Bloomberg News reports that consultancy IHS Automotive forecasts GM to finish the 2011 calendar year with global volume of 8.65 million, VW at No. 2 at 7.69 million and Toyota No. 3 7.33 million.