Volkswagen has opened a new engine plant in Silao in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, the group’s 100th plant worldwide.

The factory will supply VW’s North American vehicle plants in Puebla, Mexico and Chattanooga, Tennessee with TSI petrol engines.

The automaker plans annual sales of 1m vehicles in the US alone from 2018 with models such as the Jetta, Beetle and US Passat tailored for local customers in North American plants with a high degree of localisation.

An Audi plant in San José Chiapa is scheduled to begin production in 2016, the groups third plant there – truck unit MAN builds vehicles there, too.

The US$550m Silao plant is designed for a medium-term annual capacity of 330,000 units and will eventually create 700 new jobs at the 60 hectare site with more at suppliers.

Special rooflights in the production halls combine with energy-efficient lighting throughout the facility ensure optimum natural light levels and simultaneously absorb the heat generated by the lighting system.

The CEO of Volkswagen de México, Andreas Hinrichs, said the group made over 600,000 vehicles in Mexico in 2012.

“For us, Silao is a big step towards the future. Volkswagen is once again generating strong momentum for growth and employment in the Mexican automotive industry.”

Chattanooga built around 150,000 Passats.