Pardon me, sir; is that the Chattanooga VW plant? It is indeed – and it’s apparently going to be busier than ever cranking out 2012 Passats for the North American market. Volkswagen of America announced today it is adding a third production team to its plant in Tennessee.
That third production team brings VW’s Chattanooga workforce totals to 3300 people, a sizable increase over the original 2000 positions announced upon the plant’s groundbreaking in late 2008. According to Volkswagen, the three production teams will rotate through two shifts, and work 40 hours over four shifts. As a result, the plant will be able to operate 20 hours a day, and six days a week. By the end of 2013, the plant will be able to churn out 180,000 vehicles annually, nearly 30,000 more than its present capacity.
That’s good news, as the 2012 Passat – presently the sole vehicle built within the confines of the Chattanooga plant – continues to see its sales volumes grow by sizable measures. In the first half of 2012, VW sold about 55,000 Passats in the United States alone. If that pace continues in the second half, VW could find itself quickly banging its head against the existing 120,000-car ceiling. There’s a good chance that pace will continue or even escalate: Chattanooga built its 50,000th Passat in February 2012, and built its 100,000th Passat only three months later.
“We have worked quickly over the last four months to recruit, hire, and train our third shift team so we can ease the work schedule of our production team, while maintaining the high standards for quality in our Passat.” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources at VW’s Chattanooga plant.