Volkswagen is adding 800 employees at its Auto 5000 plant in Wolfsburg in preparation for the start of Tiguan production.

Plant manager Thomas Ulbrich told the German enthusiasts magazine Auto Motor und Sport that the plant would increase its workforce. Currently around 3,800 produce the Touran but, by mid-2007 a further 800 trainees will have been taken on, bringing total employment to 4,600.

Volkswagen is currently increasing capacity at Auto 5000 by around 40% to 280,000 units to accommodate the Tiguan.

Worker numbers have been increased because the company has made aggressive sales forecasts for its new small SUV, on sale in October this year.

Last year Auto 5000 produced 170,000 Tourans is expected this year to produce around 30,000 more vehicles, of which 16,000 will be Tiguans. When production is ramped up, the Tiguan should be produced at a rate of up to 120,000 a year.

Howeevr, the Tiguan will face stiff competition from the new Opel Antara and Toyota RAV4, but Volkswagen is optimistic because the car will be exported widely.

Ulbrich said that production in Russia, India or Mexico might also make sense. "Here the company is considering all options," he said.