PALMELA, Portugal -- It won't get the new Microbus, but Volkswagen's Autoeuropa assembly plant here will win a replacement vehicle when it stops building its current range of minivans.
The next product, probably due about mid-2005, has not been determined, said Gerd Heuss, Autoeuropa's executive director. The plant must still compete with other Volkswagen plants around the globe for future vehicle programs.
"There is no doubt there is a future for Autoeuropa," Heuss said.
The future product will be produced at volumes equal to or greater than the current models built at the plant, he said.
The Portugal plant is scheduled this year to assemble about 125,000 units of the Volkswagen Sharan, Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra, which share the same full-size minivan platform.
Palmela had been among the plants that Volkswagen considered as a site to build the Microbus. But Volkswagen said this month that it will use its Hannover, Germany, plant to build the new retro-styled minivan. VW expects to introduce the Microbus in the second half of 2005.