VW starts Porsche Boxster production in former Karmann plant
Volkswagen has started production of the Porsche Boxster sports car at the former factory of the coachbuilder Karmann.
VW is integrating Karmann's plant in Osnabrueck, northern Germany, into its production operations. It bought the manufacturing assets of Karmann, best known for building the VW Beetle-based coupe dubbed the Karmann Ghia, after the coachbuilder went bankrupt in 2009.
"Boxster production in Osnabrueck is a clear sign of the rapid coalescence of Volkswagen and Porsche," VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said at the production start on Wednesday.
Valmet Automotive of Finland previously built the Boxster. In 2008 Porsche said it was moving Boxster production to Magna Steyr in Austria starting in 2012. The contract was cancelled after VW bought a 49.9 stake in the sports car maker earlier. VW agreed to buy the remainder of Porsche in July this year.
Porsche has said it cannot expand capacity at its factory in Zuffenhausen near Stuttgart in Germany, where the Boxster is built on the same line as the brand's 911 sports car.
"Over the next few years, we will be fully utilizing our own production capacity predominantly with the 911 model. We therefore looked for a partner for producing the Boxster," Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said in a statement.
VW also produces the new Golf Cabriolet in Osnabrueck, which has an annual capacity of about 100,000, including the body, paint and assembly shops. The plant already builds body parts for the Boxster.
The factory has a history with Porsche and built car bodies for the 356 hardtop coupe in the 1960s and for the front-engined 968 coupe in the 1990s.
From 1969 to 1975, over 115,000 of the small Porsche 914 targa-topped two-seaters were also assembled in Osnabrueck, VW said.
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