Area: 2,000,000 m²
Production: 110,256 vehicles (2017)
Models: Volkswagen T-Roc, Sharan, and SEAT Alhambra
Employees: about 5,758
Volkswagen Autoeuropa in Palmela is the largest foreign industrial investment in Portugal and one of the most modern car plants in Europe. The plant/land has a total area of 2,000,000 square meters: 900.000 dedicated to the plant and 1.100.000 dedicated to the industrial park. At the moment in total 653 suppliers deliver parts to the plant, of which 19 deliver just in time. 47 trucks with production components reach the plant every day.
In 2017, Volkswagen Autoeuropa produced 110,256 vehicles. The plant currently produces the Volkswagen T-Roc the new compact SUV launched this year, Sharan and SEAT Alhambra. With the T-Roc Palmelas's plant increased the production areas and achieved the maxim capacity of production, which is 860 cars per day.
Volkswagen Autoeuropa has a full production process, starting with stamping and ending with assembly. Six high-tech stamping lines transform metal sheets into 257 different body parts. These body parts, including door panels, underbody and roof components, are assembled together with components manufactured by other Volkswagen plants and suppliers outside the Group to produce the vehicle body.
783 robots apply 92 percent of the welding required to produce a vehicle at the body shop. Paint shop has a variety of 19 colors. All models pass the paint shop in a single line. This highly advanced concept is also used in the Assembly, the area with the highest complexity and the highest number of employees.
With the introduction of T-Roc the paint shop have created a bicolor line which allows 29 possible combinations of colors, and 600 possible combinations between roof, exterior and cockpit. At the end of the production, the quality assurance audits the cars according to the Group´s standards, including a dynamic test on the internal test road (2 km).
Miguel Sanches started his career at Volkswagen Autoeuropa, Portugal, in 1993, assuming various responsibilities in Industrial Engineering, Planning, Assembly and Body Shop. From 2009 to 2011, he was nominated General Manufacturing Manager.
In 2011, he undertook the task of Head of Vehicle Production at Volkswagen de Mexico, in Puebla. In 2014, he became Vice President for Production and Logistics at Volkswagen de Mexico, being responsible for the plants Puebla and Silao. Since March 2016, he is Plant Manager of Volkswagen Autoeuropa.
The board of management of Volkswagen Autoeuropa also includes Mr. Jürgen Haase (Human Resources and Organization) and Mr. Steffen Schudt-Pialat (Finance and IT).
Volkswagen Autoeuropa has implemented an Environmental Management System, which was initially certified in 1998. Since then, the environmental certification has been successfully renewed 5 times. In 2017, Volkswagen Autoeuropa has been certified according to the new ISO 14001:2015 standard.
The plant is characterized by a constant high level of environmental awareness. In 2011, the plant initiated an environmental volunteering program to participate in conservation activities in the surrounding protected areas. This program mobilizes a growing number of employees and their families, and projects a positive image towards the national Nature and Forests Conservation Institute.
With the "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 reduce the environmental impact of all Volkswagen plants by 25 percent, based on 2010 values. Specifically, this means 25 percent less energy and water consumption, waste and emissions, per car produced.
Over the years, Palmela plant had consistently reduced its environmental impacts. In order to achieve the final goals several measures are being investigated and implemented. In 2016, and for the first time, Volkswagen Autoeuropa has been certified according to the ISO 50001:2011 (energy management systems standard).
Volkswagen Autoeuropa was established as a Joint Venture of Ford (50 percent) and Volkswagen (50 percent) in 1991. Production of the VW Sharan, SEAT Alhambra and Ford Galaxy started in 1995. In 1999, Volkswagen acquired the remaining shares in Volkswagen Autoeuropa. The plant produced its millionth MPV in 2003. In 2006, Volkswagen Autoeuropa started production of the Eos. The Scirocco was assigned to Autoeuropa in 2008, the year when the plant achieved the milestone of 1,500,000 vehicles. In 2010, Volkswagen Autoeuropa started production of the new generation of Sharan and SEAT Alhambra, followed by the facelift of Eos in 2011. In 2013, the Volkswagen Autoeuropa stamping shop achieved the milestone of 10 million parts.
The production of the facelift of Scirocco started in 2014. Also in 2014, a contract was signed between between AICEP (Trade & Investment Agency) and Volkswagen Autoeuropa for the investment of about €670 million between 2014 and 2018.
The investment included the introduction of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), which is a standard platform for all future Volkswagen models.
In 2016, Volkswagen Autoeuropa celebrated its 25th anniversary, an hallmark in the plant's history. In 2017 Autoeuropa faced the major transformation process with a new product – T-Roc, and a new working model which will lead to a significant volume growth for the next years.