VW adds $27 million California technology center to accelerate U.S. sales
LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen has opened a $27 million (21.7 million euro) technical center in California to expand its engineering capabilities in the region as part of a push to accelerate U.S. sales.
The 64,000-square-foot (5,946-square-meter) test center in Oxnard, 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, opened on Monday and will initially be staffed by 50 VW engineers and technicians, the automaker said in a statement.
An additional 250 engineers from Volkswagen Group's Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands will also use the test center, said Darryll Harrison, a Volkswagen spokesman.
"The expansion of our global research and development footprint in the United States reinforces our ongoing commitment to this market and will help to position us as a high quality brand here and abroad," David Geanacopoulos, executive vice president for Volkswagen's U.S. unit, said in the statement.
The Oxnard facility is part of what VW says is a $4 billion program to boost its market share in the United States, where it trails Asian competitors including Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.
VW-brand sales are up 34 percent this year through July, following the 2011 opening of a $1 billion auto-assembly plant in Tennessee and the addition of a new Passat sedan. VW Group aims to overtake General Motors Co. to become the world's largest automaker by 2018.
VW's Test Center California has laboratories for emissions testing and parts analysis, a workshop with more than 16 in-ground lifts, and a dealer service and training center, the company said. It will also do research on electric-vehicle systems and bio-diesel, Harrison said in a phone interview.
Volkswagen also has a facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, that includes a technical-support staff and a test track as well as a proving ground in Arizona. The carmaker's U.S. unit is based in Herndon, Virginia.Contact Automotive News