The Zwickau vehicle plant covers a total area of 1,800,000 m², corresponding to 252 soccer pitches
The plant at Zwickau produces only all-electric vehicles such as the Volkswagen ID.3e-tron and Sportback e-tron, and the Seat Cupra Born. The start of the ID.5 production in January 2022 completed the Zwickau plant's transformation into a multi-brand location for electric vehicles.
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The last combustion vehicle was produced on 26 June 2020 – signalling an historic milestone. Around 218,000 vehicles were produced in 2022. Since the plant was founded in 1990, around 6.5 million vehicles have rolled off the production lines. Zwickau is playing a key role with the start of production of electric vehicles. For the first time, a large car factory has been completely re-equipped for electric mobility for a total of 1.2 billion euros. The Zwickau plant produces six electric models for three Group brands – more than 300,000 vehicles per year following the initial ramp-up. For Volkswagen, the plant has therefore become the largest and highest-performance electric car plant in Europe and is playing a pioneering role in the transformation of the Group’s global production network.
After the parent plant in Wolfsburg, the Zwickau facility has the second-largest press shop within the Volkswagen brand. More than 20 million parts per year have been produced on average in West Saxony in the past ten years. Following its transformation into a multi-brand location for electric vehicles and the capacity expansion through the addition of a new XL press, annual production is set to increase to up to up to 30 million parts in the first quarter of 2023. Some of these parts will continue to be delivered to other Group locations. The plant also has centres for the production of special-order vehicles, natural gas racks and aluminium add-on parts. Zwickau manufactures the bodies for the Bentley and Lamborghini.
Environmental protection and energy management
The integration of environmental protection in all business and decision-making processes is a key element of strategic decisions at Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH. Production processes at the Zwickau site are continually optimised to ensure that production is as environmentally compatible as possible and to conserve natural resources. Efforts focus in particular on the reduction of energy consumption and the use of green energy, and, as such, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions at the plant. Other key elements are the reduction of production waste and industrial drinking water consumption.
Production of the ID. models in Zwickau is playing a leading role here. Across their entire life cycle, they are completely carbon-neutral provided that the customer always uses green energy for charging. With reference to the production phase alone, the CO₂ balance of the six MEB vehicles will be improved by far more than 100,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year. The environmental impact of a vehicle produced in Zwickau is 40% lower now than it was in 2010.
Spacious environmental compensation areas and orchards have been established on and around the site of the Zwickau vehicle plant. Two streams near the plant have been restored to a near-natural condition over a length of 3.3 km and now offer ideal habitats for a wide variety of fauna. With a pilot façade greening project, the plant is currently trialling the effects of natural air conditioning, with a method that also promotes biodiversity. Furthermore, the factory is also increasing its procurement of local green solar power by way of regional cooperation agreements in order to complement its already comprehensive supply of renewable hydro power. As well as being used for production processes, it can also be used to charge electric vehicles via energy stores from second-life vehicle batteries – to reflect a fully sustainable business.
Robert Janssen is a trained mechanic, who studied vehicle technology. After joining Volkswagen in 2000, he has held several positions in Germany and abroad, including the director of all SAIC Volkswagen production sites in China. Before taking on his role in Saxony, Robert Janssen led the pre-series centre in the Technical Development division in Wolfsburg.
About Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH
The founding of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH in December 1990 marked the launch of an ambitious project by Volkswagen AG to establish a competitive production facility for Volkswagen vehicles and engines in one of the most traditional regions of the German automotive industry. In addition to the temporary use of existing facilities at Zwickau and Chemnitz, which Volkswagen fully modernised, two new manufacturing facilities were built for vehicle and engine production.
The Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden was inaugurated in 2001. Automobilmanufaktur Dresden GmbH (Gläserne Manufaktur) was merged with Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH in 2014.
Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH now includes the Zwickau vehicle plant, the Chemnitz engine plant and the Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden. Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH has a workforce of around 13,000 employees (including Volkswagen Training Institute). Roughly 98 per cent of the employees have industry-related vocational training, a master craftsman’s certificate or a technical college or university degree. The average age is around 44 years and women currently account for 12.5 per cent of the workforce.
Robert Janssen is Chair of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH with responsibility for Technology and Logistics. The Management Board also includes Professor Thomas Edig (Human Resources and Organisation) and Lukas Folc (Finance and Controlling).