Area: 642,000 m²
Production: Chassis components for more than 7.3 million vehicles of the Volkswagen Group (12/2017)
Employees: about 7,000 (12/2017)
Management: Otto Joos
Brunswick was the very first Volkswagen plant to be established . At the same time as the construction of the main plant of Volkswagenwerk GmbH near Fallersleben, in what was later to become Wolfsburg, work started on the construction of a "preparatory plant" in Brunswick. This plant started operations including the production of jigs and gauges as well as the training of apprentices in the same year. Nowadays, the plant stands for a high level of technical expertise and is one of the world's leading chassis component manufacturers. Brunswick has the largest single axle manufacturing facility in the world. Activities range from development to final assembly.
The plant is divided into the following units: e-mobility competence centre, chassis, steering and technology; these units operate as companies within the company. Since 2013 the product portfolio has also included battery technology. The Volkswagen e-up! was successfully equipped and launched with a battery system from Brunswick. This was followed by the e-Golf one year later and the Passat GTE in 2015, also with battery systems from Brunswick. The plant therefore plays a key role in the e-mobility activities of the Volkswagen brand. In addition, the plant has a components tool-making unit. The Brunswick plant is one of the most important system suppliers for the Volkswagen Group's vehicle plants throughout the world. The total area of the Volkswagen plant in Brunswick is about 642,000 square meters, with about 331,000 square meters covered by buildings. In December 2014, another location was opened in Isenbüttel / District of Gifhorn, where axles are assembled. A new logistics center in Harvesse / District of Peine was commissioned in April 2015.
The component manufacturing division produces front and rear axles, shock absorbers, steering units and plastic parts. In addition, plants, machines, systems tools and dies are manufactured. In 2016, 1.7 million front axles, 3.6 million rear axles and 2 million steering units were produced.
In the plastic parts division, 129 injection molding machines, 400 molds and two painting lines convert 30 tons of plastic granulates into 500 different products for vehicle interiors, including complete dashboards, every day. In 2016, about 7.3 million vehicles of the Volkswagen Group were fitted with chassis components made in Brunswick.
Otto Joos is the manager of the Brunswick plant. Joos, who holds a mechanical engineering degree, has worked for the Volkswagen Group since 1978. Before his appointment as plant manager in Brunswick, he had been Board Member for Production and Logistics with Volkswagen do Brasil since 2011. He performed the same function for Volkswagen de Mexico until 2011 and for Volkswagen-FAW until 2007. From 1998 to 2004 Otto Joos was the manager of the Emden plant. Prior to this appointment, he held a number of management positions in production and assembly both in Wolfsburg and in Puebla/Mexico. In addition to his position in Brunswick, Otto Joos manages the entire chassis business area and reports direct to the Board of Management member responsible for components.
With its "Think Blue. Factory." initiative, the Volkswagen brand has set itself clear targets for the environmentally sustainable positioning of all its plants. By 2018, the aim is to make all Volkswagen plants 25 percent more environmentally compatible. Specifically, this means 25 percent lower energy and water consumption, waste volumes and emissions at all plants.
A key environmental project at Brunswick is the new cogeneration plant, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 10,000 metric tons per year.
Development / Product creation process
In order to compete with external suppliers throughout the world, the plant has product-specific development groups which have been continuously expanded since 1994. These groups include about 300 development and design engineers working on new chassis components and the transfer of these components to the production process. These components are used in various brands of the Volkswagen Group. The product range include front and rear axles, swivel bearings, pedals, steering units, shock absorbers and electronics, as well as battery systems. The component tool shop, which focuses on digitalization, plant and machinery engineering, with about 670 employees, is the link between development and production.