VW plans extra shifts to meet demand for new Golf
The Golf is Europe's best-selling car.
FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen says it is planning additional production to meet demand for the latest version of its Golf hatchback, which went on sale at the end of last year.
Orders for the seventh-generation model, which arrived in showrooms in Germany in November, have exceeded 100,000 cars, the company said.
The main Wolfsburg factory in Germany will add three Saturday shifts before the end of March to build 2,000 additional cars, the company said.
The Golf is Europe's best-selling car but sales are taking a hit in the region. European sales of the Golf fell by 32 percent to 22,698 in December compared with the same month in 2011, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics. Full-year sales were down 11 percent to 485,742, according to JATO.
On Wednesday, Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said that German sales of the Golf fell to 16,537 in the final two months of 2012, a 17-year low, despite the company offering bonuses to its dealers to help boost sales.
According to media reports, VW said the comparison with previous years was ''unfair'' since the new Golf was in its start-up phase and sales only began in the market on Nov. 10, making November a shorter sales month. It also said it was not yet offering the variant range available with previous generations of the compact.
The Golf has led sales in Europe for the past nine years, VW said. Volkswagen may start to take a hit from low demand in the region as it heads into its sixth consecutive year of decline.
The VW brand's sales in Germany, the biggest market in Europe, fell 23 percent in December amid a 16 percent drop industrywide in the country, according to the federal motor vehicle office KBA.
Golf and Jetta models continued to lead sales in the compact segment in Germany last year, but deliveries fell 6.7 percent to 240,700, the KBA added.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this reportContact Automotive News