It seems that 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for Volkswagen as the automaker has announced that it is expanding the workforce at its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory by adding 800 jobs.
The increase is set to meet the growing demand of the Volkswagen Passat mid-size sedan. Last month, Volkswagen sold 8,189 Passats in North America—its third biggest market after China and Europe. Overall, VW sales were up 43 percent to 30,577 vehicles in the month of February. Global sales rose 15 percent to 642,300.
“Quite plainly, we need more Passats to meet the market demand and I’m glad that we can respond so quickly by adding staff in Chattanooga,” Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning said.
Browning thinks that the Passat will continue to bring good tidings to VW and that auto sales overall will continue to grow in 2012.
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“We believe there is some good momentum,” Browning said. “Consumer confidence is coming back into the car buying sector. This is a great time with high residual value, low interest rates and some great new products.”
With the increase, VW’s Chattanooga workforce will total more than 3,500 by the end of the year. Not only will the plant’s existing two shifts be better supported, but it will be able to expand production through Saturdays as well.
The very first Passat built in the Chattanooga plant rolled out in April. Currently, the plant churns out 35 cars every hour and surpassed 50,000 vehicles in February alone.
Volkswagen has set a goal to sell 500,000 cars in the US this year as part of a long term target of one million US sales by 2018.
“Volkswagen is definitely on a roll in this market,” said Browning. “I can assure you; we don’t plan to stop.”