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VW targets 7 million unit sales in 2010

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VW targets 7 million unit sales in 2010

December 9, 2010 - 1:24 pm ET

WOLFSBURG, Germany (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG plans on sales rising 11 percent to 7 million vehicles this year, and will add work shifts at its main plant here in the first quarter to meet demand.

Volkswagen will increase production from January through March at the plant, where the Golf compact, Tiguan SUV and Touran minivan are assembled, David McAllister, prime minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, said at a works council event.

Four shifts will be added in January alone to meet growing sales of the Golf, he said.

“Volkswagen is booming,” said McAllister, a member of VW's supervisory board. The carmaker, which is 20 percent-owned by Lower Saxony, plans to create more permanent jobs for temporary workers after offering unlimited contracts to 400 interim staff, McAllister said at the employee gathering at VW's headquarters here.

Europe's largest carmaker will invest 51.6 billion euros ($68 billion) in its automotive business through 2015 in an effort to surpass Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's leading carmaker.

Volkswagen said Dec. 6 that it aims to add 50,000 jobs globally in the period, with about 10 percent of new positions in Germany, VW's second-biggest market after China.

The company hasn't previously specified a 2010 delivery forecast beyond saying demand would beat the record 6.29 million cars, sport-utility vehicles and vans sold last year.

“Volkswagen is becoming even more international,” CEO Martin Winterkorn told journalists at the conference. “After a successful year for the VW brand and group, we will and must follow up on this in 2011. We're ahead of the field, even now during the economic recovery.”

Trouble over pay

The company's labor leaders are calling on Volkswagen to raise wages by 6 percent next year for 100,000 workers at its seven western German plants and the financial-services division.

VW has countered that it will target pay increases closer to the 2.7 percent raise that engineering employees agreed to last February, topped up by performance-linked bonuses tied to record sales in 2010.

The first round of pay talks is scheduled for Jan. 19. Worker representatives “are expecting a concrete, sensible offer,” at the start, Works Council Chief Bernd Osterloh said at today's conference. “Otherwise, there will be real trouble in the early weeks next year.”

IG Metall, Germany's biggest labor union, represents VW employees in the pay negotiations. It's legally banned from calling strikes at the western German factories until Feb. 28, when a four-week cooling-off period expires.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20101209/COPY01/312099958/1193#ixzz17eraVtB3

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