“We have not only ensured a future with all these projects, but also created a reliable perspective far beyond the year 2020 … and not only for the Salzgitter location,” says Mark Möller, head of both development and e-mobility.
The conversion and transformation in Salzgitter are, however, only part of a completely revamped entrepreneurial alignment: as of January 1, 2019, Volkswagen Group Components is an independent corporate unit under the umbrella of Volkswagen AG. It encompasses 80,000 employees from 61 plants at 47 locations around the world. “A centralized management can maximize synergies, promote communication and connections between the locations, utilize capacity in the best possible way across brands and optimize investments,” says Thomas Schmall, board member responsible for the Volkswagen Group Components, about the new structure. The Volkswagen Group Components will be divided into five new business fields: engines and foundry, gear boxes and electric drives, chassis, e-mobility, seats. Each business field is responsible for the entire process: from development and procurement to production. Schmall: “This autonomy allows not only Components but also every business segment to fully exploit its potential and at the same time to be wholly measurable based on the results. This is how we create competitive and future-proof jobs.”
Large production quantities and high complexity
“We move” is the claim Volkswagen Salzgitter makes. When it comes to cars with conventional engines, the colleagues from Lower Saxony deliver the heart, so to speak. Many employees are in the process of being re-trained for the transformation to e-mobility and are familiarizing themselves with their new jobs step by step.
The Salzgitter plant has proven for decades that it can manage large production quantities and high complexity. Its broad range of large series expertise and experience with innovations are now flowing into the new e-technology. Here, too, it’s about making the technology more cost-effective, and thus more marketable.
“The workforce is fully on board, because for one they know that that’s how to secure the future,” says works council head Dirk Windmüller. The long-term plan calls for keeping 5,000 to 6,000 jobs at the location. To accomplish that, services like minor repairs are being outsourced, semi-retirement plans encouraged (the average age of the workforce is currently 46) and temp hiring reduced.
“Salzgitter shows the way”
“The core message is that we can do it ourselves,” says plant director Bleiel. “Salzgitter shows the way,” as CEO Herbert Diess expressed at a symposium at the site. No doubt about it: Salzgitter is one of the pioneers of e-mobility in Europe.