a 1,000 new workers heralded a fresh era for Peugeots Ryton plant today.
The employees started the new weekend shift giving Ryton seven day operation
believed to be the only car plant in Europe operating around the clock.
The company, which is bucking the current trend in the motor trade, has had to arrange
the new shift to meet demand for its 206 model which has been an outstanding success
giving Peugeot almost 10 per cent of the UK market.
Once the plant reaches capacity it will turn out 3,500 of the hatchbacks every week.
Managing Director Richard Parham said:
"The car was launched at Ryton in August and we built up quickly to 2,500 a week
and increased that to 2,600 but we cant satisfy demand for the car.
"Because of the progress Ryton has made in terms of productivity over the last
four years we won the decision to launch the new shift of around 900 new people and that
started this morning.
"They are all new jobs to us and there will be another 2,000 jobs in parts supply
because of this increase in production. We will produce around twice as many cars this
year as we did last year. We have sold 300,000 since the launch and we sold 10,000 in the
UK last month.
"We are a seven-day a week society now and people had the choice to apply and we
had 10,000 application."
Peugeot today unveiled the GTI version of the car, the successor to the 205 GTI which
was seen as a key car to the companys success.
The majority of the workers taken on at Ryton are from the Coventry and Warwickshire
area and include some staff laid off by recent cuts at Rover.
A spokesman added: