Volkswagen will be adding a third production shift beginning April 16, generating at least 650 new jobs, at its facility in Slovakia in order to increase production of three new minicars, Volkswagen Slovakia board member Wilfried von Rath has revealed. He added that "hundreds more" jobs will be generated by its suppliers.
The output of the automaker's so-called "New Small Family" of models started at its factory near Bratislava in the second half of 2011 together with the production of the Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii and VW Up, all of which started sales last year.
In the following years, VW will extend this subcompact family range to include a wide array of vehicles from a coupe to a minivan. Vehicles in this subcompact family share a single platform. A decontented version is intended for emerging markets. Volkswagen is one of the top three exporters in Slovakia. It produces the Touareg and Audi Q7 SUVs.
It also manufactures the Porsche Cayenne bodykits at the facility. SUV production at the plant is anticipated to increase 25% this year. The automaker anticipates production at the plant to hit the 400,000 mark this year, an increase from 280,000 the year before.
The New Small Family lineup will be vital to VW's strategy while it intends to outperform GM as the bestselling vehicle maker in the world by 2018. In 2011, VW Group achieved sales of 8.16 million vehicles, second only to GM with 9.03 million.