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Production Sites

From Beetle to Jetta

The first Beetle rolled off the line at the Puebla plant 50 years ago. The site now produces six models. The new generation of the international bestseller, the Jetta, is about to start production.

What a year for Volkswagen! In 1967 the ten-millionth Beetle is produced – an unusual record for a single car. ­Demand has remained consistently high worldwide. Volkswagen reacts by expanding its international activities. In production too. A global network of Beetle factories is set up in the late 1950s, and, in the 1960s, also one in Mexico – in Puebla, around 120 kilometers south-east of Mexico City. This is where Volkswagen’s subsidiary, Volkswagen de México, constructed a brand new factory with a press plant, a body-in-white plant, assembly halls for engines and axles, and a final assembly plant.

In 1965, barely a year after Volkswagen de México was founded, the search for a suitable site for the Beetle factory began. Up until then, a company working under a license had been assembling the Beetle on the basis of CKD (Completely Knocked Down) assembly kits. The cornerstone for the new site was laid alongside the México-Puebla highway at the end of February.

After 31 months of construction, the big moment arrives in the fall of 1967, almost 50 years ago. The first Beetle to be made in Puebla rolls off the production line. The employees produce 17,630 vehicles in the first year.

What began so modestly, grew into a factory that has become one of the largest Volkswagen sites of all. And it is the largest automotive plant in Mexico, with an impressive production output. Over the past 50 years, more than 11 million vehicles – from the old Beetle to the New Beetle1 and the Jetta5 – have been produced by the employees in Puebla for customers all over the world.

The new Jetta5 in camouflage for its test drives. In January 2018, the seventh generation will be unveiled for all to admire for the first time in Detroit.

Never to be forgotten is the Beetle, with which the plant’s history began. The last one rolled off the line here in July 2003, after 21,529,464 of these legendary cars had been produced worldwide. Adiós vocho – bye-bye Beetle! The other models made in Puebla also appeal to Mexican taste. The Beetle is followed by the Volkswagen Type 181, the Golf, the Jetta5, the New Beetle1 and the Beetle1. The latter two models are being produced here exclusively for the world markets. Latest addition is the Tiguan with a long wheelbase, known in Europe as the Tiguan Allspace.

Golf models parked in the factory compound (1986). The volcano Popocatépetl, around 40 kilometers from Puebla, is visible in the background.

Puebla’s production palette has helped it evolve from a domestic production site to one that makes cars for markets around the world. Vehicles from Puebla are now exported to more than a hundred countries. Since 2013, a subsidiary plant in Silao has been supplying the Puebla plant, and the U.S. Chattanooga plant, with the latest generation of engines.
Certain milestones make the employees especially proud. In September 1980, for example, the millionth vehicle was produced. Today, they make the Jetta, the Beetle, the Beetle Convertible2, the Golf, the Golf Variant3 and the Tiguan primarily for North America, and have passed the 11 million mark for number of vehicles built. And there’s another strong global model awaiting its launch – the new Jetta, which will celebrate its world premiere in Detroit in January.

Six Mexicans: the cars that Puebla makes

The largest automotive factory in Mexico is in Puebla, 120 kilometers southeast of the capital. This is where more than 14,500 employees produce vehicles mainly for the North American market.

It’s time – the Jetta is coming

In just a few days, they’ll start making the seventh generation in Puebla – what three employees think of having the new Jetta on their line.

» I’m super excited and really hope that the new Jetta will be a success. Then that will mean that we’ve done a great job. «

Liliane Pérez Mendez, technician in Final Inspection

» The yardstick has been set higher for us than ever before. The Jetta is completely different. Very compact, but also very complex. «

José de Marco Lozano Castro, Production Manager

» Our Jetta team has made progress each and every day. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had in my 20 years at Volkswagen. «

Rodrigo Ramos Garzón, Central Planning

How the Puebla plant became what it is today