LISBON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The Autoeuropa, an automotive assembly plant owned by Volkswagen, doubled production in 2018 to account for 1.6 percent of Portugal's GDP, according to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Wednesday.
Compared to 2017, production at the plant increased by 106 percent, while exports increased by 67 percent. This makes Autoeuropa Portugal's second largest export company, after Petroleos de Portugal, accounting for 5 percent of the nation's export revenues.
"This data shows the positive impact the Palmela factory had on the nation's economy last year, a period in which 223,200 units were produced, a volume equivalent to 75 percent of all automobile production in Portugal," Autoeuropa said in a press release.
Autoeuropa is a Volkswagen assembly plant in Palmela, 40 km south of Lisbon. The plant employs 5,800 staff and is one of the largest direct foreign investments in Portugal.
But the plant spent much of 2017 and 2018 in a high-profile union dispute between management and workers over changes to shift patterns.
Furthermore, a dockers strike in the nearby port of Setubal disrupted the plant's shipments for 40 days in November and December last year.
These disputes have since been resolved, meaning 2019 is expected to be even more productive. Furthermore, the company is investing 110 million euros to increase production of the T-Roc SUV, for which VW has made Autoeuropa its exclusive European base.
Indeed the industrial dispute centered on the T-Roc and a new timetable designed to keep assembly lines rolling non-stop.
The Palmela plant also manufactures the VW Sharan and the SEAT Alhambra people carriers.