Volkswagen announced that it will add 800 jobs to increase the Passat sedan, at its only U.S. plant.
The Chattanooga plant, which opened in May 11th, already has 2,200 Volkswagen employees and 500 who work for a contract firm called Aerotek. The company will not add another shift but it will add a Saturday shift to accommodate the additional production. Jonathan Browning, head of VW operations in North America, declared that the plant will produce 170,000 units annually, up from the actual 20,000. In its ramp up year of 2011, the plant produced about 40,000 Passats. He said 25% of all Volkswagens sold in the United States are Passats made in Chattanooga.
In January and February 2012 Volkswagen managed to sell 14,500 Passat sedans in the States. In 2011 the company’s U.S. sales increased 26% to about 325,000 units for the VW brand. Including its Audi luxury brand, the VW Group sold about 450,000 vehicles in the U.S. market in 2011.
For 2012 Volkwagen plans to sell more than 500,000 units, including Audi models, increase its U.S. sales to 1 million vehicles by 2018 and reach 10 million units sales globally in about 6 years, up from 8.3 million in 2011.