A great day for Volkswagen in Saxony: On September 26, 1990 in Mosel (now Zwickau), Federal Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl and head of Volkswagen Dr. Carl H. Hahn laid the foundation stone for a new automobile factory, comprising a press plant, body shop, paint shop and final assembly. The factory was designed for the production of the Volkswagen Golf. Not only did the automobile factory have to be created from scratch, but also the surrounding infrastructure: the roads, water supply, sewage treatment, transformer station and telephone network.
#4 – 1991: Golf production starts
From February 15, 1991, the Golf II was built in Zwickau – in parallel with its little brother, the Polo. Over half a year later, on September 12, 1991, Polo assembly there was discontinued according to plan.
#5 – 1991: The mail goes out
In December 1991, there was suddenly even more urgency than usual: a rush order from the German Federal Post Office had fluttered in. Letters and parcels in the East were now no longer to be carried across the country in the Trabant, but rather in the “Volkswagen Post”. Fifteen hundred extra Volkswagen Golfs were therefore ordered, to be delivered by February 1992. No sooner said than done: in a special production area set up especially for this purpose, the Saxon automobile makers produced the yellow “Golf Posts” – and delivered all the vehicles four days before the “deadline”.
#6 – 1992: Foundation stone laid for the Chemnitz engine factory
Before the first stone for a new engine factory could be laid in Chemnitz, there was work to be done: 300,000 cubic meters of old factory had to be demolished, 160,000 tons of recycling material had to be sent for reuse and 11,000 tons of waste disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. But that’s not all: 100,000 tons of contaminated excavated soil had to be microbiologically cleaned.
With the aid of bacteria and fungi, earth contaminated with oils, greases, emulsions, etc. was transformed into topsoil quality in two years. This paved the way for a new engine factory: the foundation stone was finally laid on June 12, 1992.
#7 – The energy consumption of a medium-sized town
Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH consumes around 218 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy and 275 million kilowatt hours of natural gas per year in the Zwickau plant alone. This is approximately equivalent to the consumption of a town with 45,000 inhabitants. Energy optimization in all company departments therefore makes an essential contribution to environmental and resource conservation. When planning the factory, great importance was placed on energy efficiency. For example, modern heat regeneration systems for the ventilation and exhaust air in the factory halls reduce thermal energy consumption by around 60 percent.
#8 – 1996: Fresh “wind” in Zwickau
October 28, 1996 saw the first “wedding” of a Passat in Mosel. Automobile manufacturers use the word “wedding” to describe the production step in which the engine and body are joined together.
The decision to expand the plant further – a strong commitment to Saxony on the part of the Volkswagen Group – had already been made at the end of 1995.
#9– 1997: One of the most modern factories in the world, thanks to the hub
The Mosel vehicle factory became one of the most modern vehicle manufactories in the world – thanks to an ultra-modern “hub” for the Golf and Passat models. The special ingenuity of the Zwickau factory lies in the compatibility of the technical equipment for the production of both models. Model conversions can be made at extremely short notice, while modern plants and a variety of ergonomic handling devices help to avoid physically demanding work processes. According to experts, the hub concept raised Volkswagen’s vehicle manufacture to a completely new level.
#10– No storage costs thanks to “just in time” delivery