Volkswagen to rework Puebla plant in Mexico for Golf production

Article by Anita Panait, on January 29, 2013

Volkswagen AG is planning to rework its Puebla assembly plant in Mexico to produce the next generation of Golf and GTI hatchbacks that will be marketed in the United States. VW’s move is expected to loosen up its inventories in North and South America when the models become available in 2014.

The move also suggests that VW would employ the same strategy that helped Passat sedan log strong sales gains after its production was shifted from Emden, Germany, to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2011.

VW currently builds the Golf and GTI in Germany. By shifting their production to Mexico, VW could cut labor costs and at the same time shorten supply lines to the US market. Although VW has yet to disclose the pricing of the latest generation of the Golf in the US, dealers expect the carmaker to slash the starting price from the current $18,890 (including freight) – considering the company’s plans to increase sales in the US to 800,000 units by 2018.

Jonathan Browning, chief executive of Volkswagen of America, said that they see the move as an opportunity to expand the role that Golf plays for the US, adding that it means the carmaker is looking to be competitive. VW slashed the Passat’s price by around $7,000 when it rolled out the redesigned American-built version in September 2011. The carmaker also posted a 413-percent increase in sales to 117,023 in 2012.

According to Wade Walker, a Volkswagen dealer in Vermont, the current version of the German-built Golf – the carmaker’s global top-seller – had been selling briskly in the US, unlike the German-built Passat. He said that if the Mexican production of the Golf and GTI would boost inventories, dealers could sell more, noting that a price cut would definitely help.

All-new Volkswagen Golf was revealed 36 years after the original was first launched in Berlin.

The success of its previous models was built on the seventh generation of the VW Golf. Since then, there were already 29 million units sold providing comfort, efficiency, practicality, and safety to the class. It now offers more room and advanced technologies. The impressive features of the Volkswagen Golf Mk VII don’t end there. It added new production techniques that made the car 100 kg lighter than its previous version. These changes make the car more fuel efficient by 23 percent than before. Above all this, the stronger body structure, quality standard and optional active and passive safety systems make the new Golf safer than before.

MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) or Modular Transverse Matrix is what the new Volkswagen Golf is built on. As this standardizes vehicle component parameters throughout brands and vehicle classes, it permits access to the latest powertrains and technologies. This includes advancements in infotainment and safety. These have typically been available only for vehicles in top-of-the-line classes.

New Volkswagen Golf is 4,255 mm long, which makes it 56 mm longer than its predecessor. At the wheelbase, it is 2,637 mm long and that’s an increase of 59 mm compared to the previous. There’s more interior space because the front wheels are positioned 43 mm more forward, while the Golf is 1,799 mm wider (13 mm) and 1,452 mm lower (28 mm). In terms of drag coefficient, it is 10% better with 0.27Cd.

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