Mr de Vries, the ID.3 recently started rolling off the production line in Zwickau. What has moved you most over the past few months?
It is remarkable how quickly we are transforming our Zwickau factory – from 100 per cent combustion engine to 100 per cent electric motor within two years, while continuing to produce the Golf and Golf Estate. This is very challenging for all of us, but has so far been handled professionally by everyone involved. Hardly any of the original layout remains. Fourteen new buildings and hall extensions are being built. At the same time, the latest automation technologies and systems are being installed in the production areas. Besides the technical transformation, we have also simultaneously trained the entire workforce and explained the significance and opportunities associated with electric mobility, because only an informed and convinced team will achieve its goals.
In detail, which technology do you find most fascinating on the new ID.3?
The ID.3 symbolises New Volkswagen in technological terms. The vehicle features a modern, progressive design – along with the fully electric drive system and the new IT architecture on the completely newly developed MEB platform. As such, the most fascinating aspect for me is the overall look of the vehicle. The ID.3 immediately turns heads wherever it goes.
What was the biggest challenge you faced over the course of the project?
A high degree of ramp-up expertise is needed for such a far-reaching factory conversion. Six models from three marques will roll off the production line in Zwickau by 2021. Until then, we have to manage a new production launch every three to six months and various ramp-up stages for new models in between. Production of the ID.3 has already started, the next ID. is in the pre-production phase, the SEAT el-born is also being built in small numbers and the first Audi is bringing up the rear. We can’t do much more. I call that a challenge for the entire organisation of the site and the departments involved at headquarters.
What will you take personally from the project?
Life is exciting when you dare to try new things. It is incredibly important to pool all your strength and rethink things. Here at Volkswagen, I have also seen that the key to success lies in inspiring people. Anything is possible when every single employee is informed, motivated and committed to pursuing the same goals! I am convinced that it is all ultimately worth it for the location and, above all, for the employees.