PARIS -- PSA Group is expanding production at its light-commercial vehicle factory in Hordain in northern France in a response to increased demand.
About 600 workers will be hired, primarily on temporary contracts of up to 18 months, to create a fourth production team by May, the automaker said in a statement on Friday.
The facility, also known as Sevelnord, has an annual capacity of about 180,000 vehicles, but output has recently been about half of that. It currently builds the Peugeot Expert and Citroen Jumpy midsize vans, along with their passenger-vehicle variants, as well as the Toyota ProAce as part of a collaboration agreement signed in 2012.
About 2,800 workers are employed at the 161-hectare (400 acre) site, which is grouped with two other nearby PSA facilities, at Valenciennes and Douvrin. PSA also said it was extending a night production shift at the factory, first announced in September 2016.
PSA has targeted increased light-commercial vehicle sales as part of its Push to Pass strategic plan with the aim of doubling global profits by 2021. The company recently announced it was starting production of the Expert and Jumpy in Kaluga, Russia.
Sevelnord was originally a Simca Chrysler facility built in the early 1970s. The plant closed in 1987, after production switched to Peugeot Talbot. The site lay dormant until the early 1990s, when it was selected as the second site of the PSA-Fiat light commercial vehicle partnership. The plant was recommissioned and expanded, and production began in 1993 with Citroen, Peugeot, Fiat Lancia monospaces. The first light-commercial vehicles appeared in 1995 with the Citroen Jumpy, Peugeot Expert and Fiat Scudo.
The PSA-Fiat partnership at the plant dissolved in 2012, with PSA taking over 100 percent of operations. The two companies continue to produce larger vans at the Sevelsud plant in Italy. The Hordain plant passed production 2.5 million vehicles in 2015.