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Volkswagen's big plans

Puebla, located just south east of Mexico City, might as well be the centre of the Volkswagen world in North America. Although Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, TN, plant is currently busy producing the Passat, it’s the Mexican plant that holds the key to the company’s future success between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Big bucks

Only a few weeks ago, the assembly of the new Golf 7 began at this impressive plant, all of which are destined for both North and South America. In order for this to happen, the Volkswagen Auto Group invested some US $700 million in new tooling and modern infrastructure for the Golf in Puebla.

This sum is part of VW’s plan to invest upwards of $7 billion in North America in the coming years, up to 2018.

The future and the past
The building of the new Golf in Puebla opens up countless possibilities where the near full gamut of Volkswagen goodness may finally become a reality for us Northerners. I am getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m thinking 4MOTION, more TDI, and other Golf body configurations currently available elsewhere.

The inaugural start of the MKVII’s assembly also marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of an import, production and sales company called “Volkswagen de México S.A.” started in 1964. A few years later, a car you may have heard of, the Beetle, started rolling off the assembly line in Puebla in 1967. The Bulli -- or Bus -- was also built alongside the Beetle, and both mobilized Mexico for decades.

Volkswagen Golf MKVII
Photo: Volkswagen

30 million Golfs so far
The first Golf that will roll off the assembly line is a red GTI. In the very near future, the Golf wagon will also be coming from this same line as will other versions further down the line. At full steam, the Puebla plant can produce up to 700 vehicles per working day. That works out to one Golf every 2 minutes and change.

As we know, VW continues to strive towards their goal of being No. 1 in total sales worldwide by 2018, and the new Golf will play a huge role in bringing North American deliveries to a cool million a year by that time. The addition of the SUV along with Passat and Jetta should sustain this growth and help VW attain the coveted No. 1 spot.

On that subject, Volkswagen may have to adjust some of its design decisions so as to not completely alienate its strong fan-base, but that’s a discussion for another time…

More products
For the time being, Volkswagen continues its product onslaught and the next big launch will be the promised midsize SUV. The good CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, confirmed its coming just ahead of the recent Detroit Auto Show. According to him “development work on the seven-seater has already begun and will be launched in 2016.”

Numbers don’t lie
It seems clear to me that the company is totally committed to this endeavour. This is certainly true if we consider that 2013 was a record year. The Volkswagen Group increased its deliveries by almost 5% to over 9.7 million vehicles compared to 9.3 million in 2012.

Volkswagen SUV
Photo: Volkswagen