Area: 6.500.000 m²
Production: about 704,000 vehicles (2018)
Models: Volkswagen Golf, Golf Sportsvan, e-Golf, Golf GTE, Golf GTI, Golf R, Tiguan, Touran,SEAT Tarraco
Employees: about 63,300 (December 31, 2018)
Situated on the banks of the Mittellandkanal, an artificial waterway, the plant has an area of more than six square kilometers, with the factory halls alone taking up a surface area of 1.6 square kilometers – an area as large as the entire Principality of Monaco.
The network of roads connecting the individual production facilities, warehouses, administration buildings and outdoor facilities has a total length of 75 kilometers, with 60 kilometers of railway tracks additionally criss-crossing the grounds. Seven locomotives, two shunting robots and a traverse are in operation on the tracks.
Since June 2016 Stefan Loth has been the Plant Manager and head of vehicle production at the Wolfsburg plant. Loth holds a PhD in mechanical engineering. He began his careerin 1997 working with Ford. In 2006 he joined the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in Wolfsburg and assumed responsibility for the production system of Volkswagen. After various responsible functions with the Volkswagen brand, he became the Plant Manager for the Seat brand at the Spanish plant in Martorell in 2011. In 2015 he was appointed Plant Manager for the FAW Volkswagen plant in Chengdu.
The world's largest single car-manufacturing complex, with a workforce of almost 20,000 people, produces the Volkswagen Golf, Golf R, Golf GTI, Golf GTE, e-Golf, Touran and Tiguan as well as the SEAT Tarraco for more than 50 countries around the world. About 704,000 vehicles rolled off the assembly lines in 2018. Daily production amounts to about 3,500 vehicles.
Material movements and flow of goods
Every day, around 180 double-decker rail cars and about 185 trucks leave the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg with a cargo of some 3,200 vehicles. Incoming deliveries of raw materials, components and system modules from around 2,600 suppliers arrive at the plant in about 100 rail cars and 2,000 trucks every day.
Volkswagen Group Components: chassis
In addition to vehicle production, Volkswagen Group Components is active in Wolfsburg with its chassis business area. About 2,200 employeesproduce drive shafts, steel wheels, drag link tubes and cable shifts in an area of approx. 200,000 m². In addition, the complete wheels for all vehicles produced at Wolfsburg are assembled “just in sequence” from steel rims produced at the plant, and aluminum rims and tires delivered by suppliers. Apart from the Wolfsburg plant, which receives 100 percent of these components from the unit, other major customers include plants of the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA Group brands throughout the world.
Toolmaking acts as an independent unit within production at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. From the design phase onwards, Toolmaking is a strategic partner of Technical Development and Production. Key tasks include production feasibility assessments of all steel sheet body parts, the production of the tools required including introduction on production presses and the installation and commissioning of the systems in body production. The toolmaking unit includes two main sections: press toolmaking and plant assembly. Expertise in the press toolmaking section includes the production of press tools for cold and hot stamping for the creation of complex surface structures. The main emphasis in plant assembly is on the production of efficient, durable, highly automated production equipment for body making, such as hemming and robot welding systems. Toolmaking also includes the additive manufacturing center. A variety of components for prototypes and various tool applications are produced by 3-D printing. Together with Technical Development and the Planning and Tool Development departments of Group Research, the center is working on the further development of materials to qualify 3-D metal printing for industrial use in vehicle production. Toolmaking at Volkswagen is organized in a world-wide network ensuring the trouble-free start of production at all the brand’s locations.
Technical Development at Wolfsburg represents one of the largest development centers in the automotive industry. Working in a total area of 1.2 square kilometers, about 11,000 highly qualified employees shape the mobility of the future. Technical Development is where future-oriented areas such as electrification, digitalization and automated driving take shape. The Technical Development team has advanced facilities for the design, development and testingof future Volkswagen models. These include the light competence center for testing innovative lighting systems, the safety competence center with highly advanced crash sled technology and the wind tunnel efficiency center for aerodynamic and aero-acoustics tests as well as realistic climate simulations, which opened in 2017.
The Volkswagen brand has set itself has set itself an ambitious target for the reduction of environmental impact in production. By 2025, vehicles and components are to be produced in a way which is 38.1percent more environmentally compatible than in 2010.
The key figures measured are CO2 emissions, energy consumption, water consumption, waste production and solvent emissions.
A key aspect for the successful implementation of resource efficiency measures is systematic interchange between the specialists of the various disciplines. More than 200 Think Blue. Factory. ambassadors provide support for achieving the targets. Another aspect is interchange between the production locations in order to transfer appropriate optimization ideas between the plants.
To realize further savings potentials, compressed air systems, cold networks, cooling towers, hall ventilation systems and lighting systems are to be comprehensively reviewed and optimized. Each year, the plant is monitored by internal and external audits and successfully certified in accordance with EMAS, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001. An environmental declaration for the plant in accordance with EMAS is published each year.
The two cogeneration plants operated in Wolfsburg by Volkswagen AG not only generate power and heat for the Volkswagen plant, but also heat for the city of Wolfsburg. In addition, together with the cogeneration plant at Kassel and the compact cogeneration plant at Brunswick, the Wolfsburg power plants supply electricity for the plants at Salzgitter, Brunswick, Emden, Hanover and Kassel. At the Wolfsburg plant, VW Kraftwerk GmbH operates a public 110 kV power grid. For this purpose, an information safety management system in accordance with DIN ISO 27001 was developed and certified in 2018. This demonstrates that the availability, confidentiality, integrity and comprehensibility of information in this area receive special protection.
Since 2011, Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH has invested across all locations in the expansion of renewable energies and the installation of high-efficiency natural gas-powered cogeneration plants. Volkswagen is currently planning to thoroughly modernize the two major power plants owned and operated by the company in Wolfsburg and to change them over from coal to natural gas operation. In the course of this project, several new gas and steam turbine units are to be installed as replacements for the existing coal-fired boilers. The total investment will be about €400 million and commissioning is due to take place between mid-2021 and the end of 2022. Construction work has already started. The new, high-efficiency gas turbines for the Wolfsburg power plants will reduce CO2 emissions for power and heat generation durably by about1.5 million tonnes per year.
Wolfsburg is the location of the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen brand headquarters. It is from here that the worldwide activities and management of the Group are organized.
Volkswagen, founded in Berlin on May 28, 1937 as“Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens“, commissioned a factory to be built at the site of what would eventually be the City of Wolfsburg. The factory was built in 1938/39 as a facility for series production of the Volkswagen car designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Realization of this "People's Car" vision was interrupted by World War II, which brought with it armament production and forced labor. Under the trusteeship of the British military government from 1945 to 1949, Volkswagen was transformed into a civil market company and came into its own. The dream of cars for everyone started to become reality when production of the Volkswagen started under British command on September 27, 1945. In 1955, the factory celebrated completion of the one-millionth Beetle in Wolfsburg. By the time production was discontinued in 1974, a total of 11,916,519 Beetles had been built in Wolfsburg. Production of the Golf then started. The form and functionality of the new model made it the symbol of an entire vehicle class. With the GTI and the frugal diesel, the Golf became a best-selling model. The one-millionth Golf already rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg in 1976. This first Golf was replaced by its second-generation successor in May 1983. This model was assembled by largely automated systems in the dedicated assembly Hall 54 built especially for the Golf. In 1988, the 50th anniversary year of the city and the plant, the 10 millionth Golf was produced. In the plant, which had grown over the course of time, new market demands and ambitious corporate targets were mastered by investments in flexible technology, lean production methods and modern assembly systems adapted to customers’ and employees needs as well as a variety of shift working and working time models. In the 1990s, the Polo was added to the product range produced at the plant and was joined for a short time by the Seat Arosa and the Lupo, the Volkswagen brand’s new entry-level model. From August 1997, the fourth-generation Golf, which was produced using highly advanced equipment, set new quality standards in the compact class which bore its name. The flexibility of production at the plant was increased with the Polo III, Golf IV and Lupo.
In August 2001, Auto 5000 GmbH was established as a result of negotiations between Volkswagen and the IG Metall trade union in order to create jobs in Wolfsburg for Touran production. The name of the company refers to the plan to recruit 5,000 new employees at a gross salary of DM 5,000. the project was promoted with the slogan of “5000×5000”. From 2007, Auto 5000 also produced the Tiguan compact SUV, which had been presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 2007 and was launched in October 2007. From January 1, 2009, the employees of Auto 5000 GmbH were transferred to Volkswagen AG and the project came to an end.
In September 2008, Volkswagen presented its new sixth-generation Golf. The 15 millionth Golf produced at the plant rolled off the assembly line in September 2010. The new seventh-generation Golf made its debut in September 2012. Six months later, in March 2013, the model won the European award “Car of the Year 2013”.
2014 was the year of e-mobility. The first e-Golf rolled off the production line in March, followed by the Golf GTE, the plug-in hybrid, in June. The second-generation Touran has been produced since May 2015 and production of the second-generation Tiguan started at the beginning of 2016, with production of the new Golf following at the end of the year.
In 2017, the IT-City opened to the north of the plant as a central location for the IT and digitalization expertise of the Volkswagen Group. The facility features highly advanced workplaces designed for agile, user-oriented working for about 1,500 specialists. In 2018, the Wolfsburg plant received the European Automotive Lean Production Award for lean and efficient production for the first time. In October 2018, the plant started to produce a model of another Group brand for the first time in 20 years – the SEAT Tarraco. The Spanish SUV is being produced together with the Volkswagen Tiguan and Touran. The Wolfsburg plant already produced the VW Lupo and SEAT Arosa (from 1996 to1998), Audi 50 and VW Polo (from 1974 to 1978), and the VW Passat and Audi 80 (from 1994 to 1998) as well as the Audi 100 (from 1993 to1997) together on the same production line. Since series production started in December 1945,. more than 45 million vehicles have been manufactured at the Wolfsburg plant.