WOLFSBURG - Volkswagen plans to more than double annual capacity at its plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, next year to 280,000 vehicles.
The extra capacity will be used mainly to build Polo superminis now produced at VW's main factory complex in Wolfsburg.
VW's supervisory board is scheduled to approve the expansion at Bratislava later this month, according to Folker Weissgerber, director of production for the group. Volkswagen's management board has already agreed to the proposal.
Sources say the expansion is part of a broader plan to increase VW group capacity in Europe by 400,000 within a few years.
The new investment at Bratislava will incorporate a supplier park, and will be completed by the end of 1999.
The plant currently assembles only Golfs. Passat production ended at the five-year-old plant earlier this year.
Current capacity at Bratislava is 120,000 units. In the year to 31 August, the plant turned out 74,700 Golfs, compared with 26,300 in the same period in 1997.
Golf production will continue at the plant.
'We want to concentrate on the A (Golf) platform at Wolfsburg, taking the plant back to its original form,' said Weissgerber.
Wolfsburg currently has two production lines dedicated to the A-platform Golf and Bora, and one for the AOO-platform on which the Polo and Lupo are based.
Volkswagen plans to shift existing Polo production out of Wolfsburg to its plant in Pamplona, Spain, by the end of the year.
No decision has been made to move the Lupo out of Wolfsburg.
'That could be a later development,' Weissgerber said, 'when we judge how we are doing with the A-platform at Wolfsburg.'
Bratislava capacity rises to 280,000
Supplier park added
Polo to be built in Bratislava and Pamplona, Spain Wolfsburg will concentrate on Golf platform
VW will add 400,000 units within a few years