Volkswagen AG is investing $90 million to expand its Volkswagen Motor Polska Sp. z o.o. engine plant in Polkowice, Poland. The automaker is increasing the number of major components that are machined at the plant, which currently include cylinder heads and camshafts. Connecting rods, crankshafts and engine blocks are being added.

Improvements include adding 39,000 sq. ft. (3,700 sq. m) to the existing 121,000-sq.-ft. (11,000-sq.-m) plant and adding 150 jobs to the current 950 positions. “The total facility should be ready at the beginning of next year,” says Burkhard Welkner, chairman of VW Polska.

The plant, which opened in 1999, makes 1.9L TDI 4-cyl. diesel engines for use in cars made by the VW group. The same engine also is produced at the Audi Hungaria Motor Kft. plant in Gyor, Hungary. Some 506,000 engines will be built at the Poland plant this year. Although installed capacity is 540,000 units annually, Mr. Welkener plans to use organization changes and rationalization to produce 580,000 engines in 2002. “Our vision is to make 1 million engines a year in Polkowice,” he says.

VW also wants to increase the Polish content. The company currently sources cylinder heads from VW's Hanover plant and Rautenbach-Guss Wernigerode GmbH plant, both in Germany. In the future, about 50% of the cylinder heads will come from Volkswagen Poznan Sp. z.o.o., VW's other Polish plant.