PALMELA, Portugal - Though it won't get the new Microbus, Volkswagen AG's Autoeuropa assembly plant here is assured a replacement vehicle when production of its current minivan ends, probably in mid-2005.
The future product hasn't been determined, said Gerd Heuss, Autoeuropa's executive director. The plant still must compete with other VW plants for new vehicles.
The undetermined future product will be produced at volumes equal to or greater than the existing product, he said. The Portugal plant is expected to assemble about 125,000 Volkswagen Sharan, Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra vans this year.
The Microbus had been considered for Palmela, but VW chose its Hanover, Germany, assembly plan for the minivan.
A Passat-based compact minivan has been mentioned for Autoeuropa. That vehicle could be exported to the United States and Japan. Heuss wouldn't comment on that possibility but did say the plant's next product could be sold globally.