The Brunswick plant was the very first Volkswagen plant to be established. Parallel to the construction of the main plant of the former Volkswagen GmbH near Fallersleben, construction work for a preliminary plant began in 1938in Brunswick. This plant started operations including the production of jigs and gauges as well as the training of apprentices in the same year. Today, the Brunswick plant stands for high technical competence and is one of the world's leading manufacturers of chassis components. Since 2019, it has been a part of Volkswagen Group Components, an independent business unit under the umbrella of the Volkswagen AG, responsible for the production of strategic components for the Group’s vehicle producing brands.
The Component plant is divided into the competence centers e-mobility, chassis, steering & axle assembly, and technology. These units operate as companies within the company. Since 2013, battery technology has been a part of the product portfolio. The Volkswagen e-up! was successfully launched in series production with battery systems from Brunswick. This was followed by the e-Golf in 2014 and the Passat GTE in 2015, both also provided with battery systems from Brunswick. The plant has been manufacturing the batteries for the Group’s new MEB-vehicles since 2019 and the battery systems for the Golf GTE since 2020. With that, the site has been given a central role in Volkswagens e-mobility strategy.
The total area of the Brunswick plant covers around 682,000 square meters. In addition to three sites in Brunswick, further axle production plants in Isenbüttel, Hanover, Emden and Meerane as well as a logistics center in Harvesse belong to Volkswagen Group Components Braunschweig.
The component production includes front and rear axles, shock absorbers, and steering systems, plus machinery, equipment, tools, and molds. In 2020, 2,3 million rear axles, more than 780,000 front axles, 9,6 million brake discs, and 1,9 million steering units were produced.
The site is systematically geared towards e-mobility. In addition to the traditional chassis components, which are also used in the Group’s e-vehicles, one focus lays on battery systems. Apart from the battery systems for the e-Golf, e-Crafter, e-Up, Passat GTE , Golf GTE, Seat Mii electric and Skoda Citigo E, the site has also been manufacturing the battery systems for the Group‘s new electric vehicles, i.e. the ID-family, since 2019. In 2020, more than 187,000 battery systems were delivered to the Group‘s vehicle manufacturing plants.
Martin Schmuck is head of the Brunswick plant. He has been with the Volkswagen Group since 1996. Throughout his career, he has become familiar with the entire product development process. Starting in development at the Brunswick plant, he passed through further stations in planning, production and logistics. In his last position, he wasleading the chassis component plant of Volkswagen Group Components in Wolfsburg.
Development and product engineering process
The Brunswick plant maintains its own product-related development groups, which have been continuously built up since 1994. Around 350 employees ensure that the site’s chassis components are continuously developed further in order to compete on an international level with external suppliers.
With its competence center for technology, the plant has an in-house equipment manufacturer which serves as a supplier for systems, battery test stands, and tools and drives innovational topics forward with its 470 employees.
“Think Blue. Factory.“ is Volkswagen‘s program to sustainably and continuously reduce environmental impacts in production. With “Think Blue. Factory.“, Volkswagen is taking ecological responsibility and making a significant contribution to being an ecological leader. These five key indicators are the parameters of “Think Blue. Factory.“: energy, water, waste, CO2, and solvent emissions. These are to be reduced by 45% by 2025, starting from the base year 2010.
The Brunswick site has been successfully certified according to EMAS since 1996 and thus fulfills the requirements of DIN EN ISO 14001 (environmental management systems). In addition to that, the Brunswick plant was the first Volkswagen site worldwide to receive a certificate according to DIN EN 16001 for its energy management system in 2009.