Volkswagen U.S. Finance Arm to Expand Illinois Facility

Volkswagen AG’s U.S. financing arm said it will expand its Illinois office, adding about 150 new jobs through 2018, as it prepares for the German automaker’s expanding American business.

VW Credit Inc. is breaking ground today on a 30,000-square-foot (2,787-square-meter) expansion to about double the size of its facility in Libertyville, Illinois, as part of efforts to align itself with VW’s “ambitious growth strategy,” Andrew Stuart, chief executive officer of the credit union, said in a statement.

U.S. deliveries for the VW brand rose 41 percent during the first quarter, driven by sales of the redesigned Passat sedan built at the automaker’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker wants to double U.S. vehicle sales by 2018, including the Audi luxury brand.

VW had its best sales month ever with the Passat in U.S. when it sold 10,032 in March, the company said in a statement. VW sold 12,497 combined Passat sedans and wagons for all of 2010.

“To now hit a run rate of in excess of 10,000 units for the month is a real step in the right direction and, I think, a further endorsement of our product and investment strategy for the U.S. market,” Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, told reporters earlier this month. VW’s U.S. operations are based in Herndon, Virginia.

The automaker in March said it would add 800 jobs at its Chattanooga plant to meet demand for the Passat.

VW Credit, which has about 850,000 accounts valued at $20 billion, services 940 dealers in the U.S. and employs about 850 people, the unit said in a statement. The unit serves VW- and Audi-brand customers.