Automotive News EuropeWOLFSBURG - Volkswagen says it will fall short of its Golf production target this year because of changes made to the car shortly before it was launched in September.
VW had planned to build 136,000 Golfs this year at four plants, but will manage only 101,000. It has orders for 200,000 and delivery times stretch out to seven months.
Folker Weissgerber, board member for manufacturing, said output is behind schedule because of a late decision to reinforce the car's B-pillar. VW's side impact tests showed that the part was vulnerable.
'We didn't want to go on the market with a compromise,' said Weissgerber. 'Only weeks before the start of the serial production we found a solution.'
Weissgerber said the decision to make the change and to slow production was made after intense debates among management board members.
Output is steadily increasing. Daily production will be 2,000 units by the end of this year. Full capacity will be reached by March, said Weissgerber. Then VW will be building about 5,000 daily in the four plants. Wolfsburg's capacity is 3,000 units.
VW currently has 200,000 orders for the new Golf, according to Peter Giffhorn, sales director in Germany.
Customers ordering a Golf today can expect delivery in early summer 1998. Weissgerber said that the waiting period will decrease. So far, 21,000 cars have been delivered.
Golf daily production
mid-Nov. end Dec.
Wolfsburg 412 1,300
Brussels 270 450
Mosel 110 110
Bratislava 40 60
Total 832 1,920