Volkswagen may build new Golf in Mexico
Volkswagen favors using its factory in Puebla, Mexico, as another production site for the new Golf, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said.
The company will deal with the important question of additional Golf production "in a matter of just a few weeks," Winterkorn told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
"The decision will be made this year," he said.
VW has so far built the Golf at its main German factories in Wolfsburg and in Zwickau.
There has been speculation in the auto industry for some time about a possible location for Golf production in the dollar zone. Many observers had given VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the edge. The mid-size Passat sedan, specially designed for the American market, is built there.
"Chattanooga has exhausted its capacity," Winterkorn said. "If we expand there, an SUV that ends up roomier than the Tiguan would have a good shot."
The seventh-generation Golf's production in Puebla will reportedly begin at the end of 2014 or in early 2015 at the latest, according to Automobilwoche's online edition. There is a high probability that the five-seat compact will be marketed overseas under the Golf name - and not as the Rabbit, as was once the case in the United States.
Along with the Chattanooga-built American Passat and the Puebla-built Jetta, the new Golf is to be one of the pillars of Winterkorn's strategy for growth in the U.S. He has characterized VW as "significantly underrepresented" in the key U.S. sales market. On Tuesday, the automaker said brand sales in the country rose 37 percent to 323,089 in the first nine months from a year earlier.
VW is also due to build the new Golf in China soon. That country is VW's single most important market globally. The company will launch volume production at its Foshan plant in late 2013, based on current planning.
VW built its legendary Beetle at the Puebla factory years ago and the successor to the former brand icon is currently manufactured there and shipped worldwide.
You can reach Henning Krogh at firstname.lastname@example.org.