The head of Volkswagen Group South Africa says production at the Uitenhage plant is “maxed out”, with the local automaker heading for a record year in terms of number of vehicles built.

Speaking to Engineering News, VW SA CEO Thomas Schäfer revealed the firm was on target to produce nearly 162 000 units in 2019, up substantially from the 126 000 built the previous year.

This comes after the automaker invested an additional R6,1-billion (since 2015) in new products, the plant and suppliers.

“If we could produce more, we would, but we are maxed out. We are on three shifts and we are already working on Saturdays,” Schäfer told the publication, before describing 2018 as the “best year in VW SA’s existence”.

The local arm of the Munich-based company produces the Polo hatchback (including the GTI) for local and export markets, while also building the Polo Vivo for South Africa.

In January 2019, VW SA shipped off 5 749 units of its Polo to foreign markets, making it the biggest exporter of vehicles from local shores for the month.

“It is a good problem to have, to be maxed out,” Schäfer said, adding that VW SA had “met and exceeded” all of its targets for 2018.