Volkswagen Changing European Production Plans for Commercial Growth
Poland Plant To Build Next-Generation Commercial Van
Volkswagen is not typically thought of as a commercial vehicle manufacturer in the U.S., but worldwide, the company is a major producer of light commercial vehicles, including the Caddy compact cargo van and the Sprinter-based Crafter full-size van. VW has shown an interest in expanding its commercial vehicle operations to the U.S. market as part of its quest for growth. For now, there are no earth-shattering changes to VW's North American operations in regard to commercial vehicles, but changes taking place in Europe may eventually play a part in VW's expansion into the commercial segment in the U.S. Production of the successor to the Crafter van will move from Düsseldorf, Germany, where it's produced on the same line as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to VW's plant in Wreśnia, Poland, where it currently produces the compact Caddy van.
In an indication of the global popularity of C-segment crossovers, VW will add production of the Tiguan to its Hanover plant in addition to its current production in Wolfsburg. Along with the change, Hanover will be relieved of its duty of providing body shells for the Porsche Panamera. Final assembly of the Panamera takes place in Leipzig, but bodies are currently shipped in from Hanover. Leipzig will add a body stamping plant to bring production of the Panamera entirely in house starting in 2016. Leipzig is also the source of global Cayenne and Macan production.
Construction on the plant expansion for the next-generation van is expected to start in late 2014 for sale in fourth-quarter 2016. The next-generation van is expected to be a wholly in-house VW design, not shared with Daimler.