VEHICLE PRODUCTION LOCATIONS OF THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP
Share of total production 2010 in percent
Production in 2010 was dominated by a large number of vehicle production start-ups, substantial efforts at our new production facilities, staff training measures and the recovery of the automotive markets. Due to a sharp rise in demand for our models in the reporting period, some of the Group’s manufacturing plants had to increase their production programs to the limits of their capacity. The upturn in demand in the commercial vehicles segment prompted Scania to return to a five-day week at its Swedish sites, and additional staff were also taken on in Europe as a whole.
At the end of the reporting period, the Volkswagen Group had 61 locations, with production facilities at 40 of these. After commencing full production in 2009, the Russian site in Kaluga added two more vehicle models to its production range, bringing the number of vehicle launches to four in just eleven months. The facility in Pune, India, now produces a total of four different models as well. Construction is progressing at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, USA, where production of a model developed specially for the North American market will begin in 2011. Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH will also start building vehicles in the same year. In China, the Group – in line with its long-term growth strategy – is building two new vehicle plants in Yizheng and Foshan, both of which will become operational in 2013. The new engine plant in the Mexican city of Silao will start producing the latest generation of engines for the North American market in the same year. Following an extensive overhaul, Scania now has efficient, state-of-the-art bus production at its site in Slupsk, Poland. Volkswagen’s plant in Chemnitz, Saxony, was rated “Factory of the Year 2009” in the “outstanding innovation management” category by management consultants A.T. Kearney and the German magazine “Produktion”.
Successful start-ups in the plants
The numerous production start-ups at our facilities worldwide were central to the success of the Volkswagen Group in 2010. The new flagship models for the year under the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand were the latest generations of the Touareg, Sharan, Touran and Passat models. Another highlight was the US rollout of the new Jetta produced in Mexico. In Kaluga, Russia, the Polo and the Škoda Fabia were integrated into full production. Audi added the new Audi A1 and the Audi A7 Sportback to its product portfolio. Production of the new generation of the Audi A6 saloon was also commenced. Important events in the production calendar at SEAT were the start-up of the Ibiza ST and the showcasing of the new Alhambra. The range of products manufactured at our plants in China was expanded to include the Magotan CC, and a new generation of the Polo and Touran was rolled out.
Production milestones in 2010
We celebrated a special event in February 2010, when the 37 millionth vehicle produced at the Wolfsburg plant – a Golf GTI – rolled off the production line. The Kassel plant marked the production of its 100 millionth gearbox – a seven-speed direct shift gearbox – in March. SEAT also had a reason to celebrate in March, when the one millionth Leon was built in Martorell. In April, the one millionth SUV left the factory in Bratislava. The 20 millionth Golf saloon manufactured at a German plant rolled off the assembly line in Wolfsburg in June. Škoda celebrated the production of its eight millionth car overall in 2010. In the fourth quarter of the year, we proudly marked the production of the ten millionth vehicle and one millionth engine in China; our plant in Zwickau built the two millionth Passat in November.
The Group’s production system
The Volkswagen Group’s value-driven synchronous production system has been designed with the aim of improving quality and adherence to schedules while simultaneously reducing costs. The core element of the system is a consistent, systematic organization of work and processes that will be achieved through a uniform Group-wide production system and the methodical approach of the continuous improvement process. Employees, employee representatives and management have together made it their business to turn the Company into a learning organization.
Around the world, Lean Centers are currently being established in the Group brands along with training centers at the plants. These will offer training courses for employees, from skilled workers to top managers, thus broadening their fields of expertise. The Lean Center in Chattanooga opened its doors in 2010; other new training centers have been set up at the Chemnitz plant for engine assembly and at the Kassel facility for mechanical production and gearbox assembly.
On account of the demographic trend, Volkswagen is facing the challenge of achieving its ambitious goals as the age structure of its workforce changes. In this context, people are the Group’s most important resource. For our employees to keep performing at high levels, their workstations must be designed ergonomically and appropriate to their age. This must be taken into account early on, in the product development process. By making ergonomics a particular priority in this process, we ensure an improvement in the quality of production employees’ workstations, resulting in shorter production cycles and a lower error rate. We also create job opportunities for employees with reduced capabilities. All these measures help to safeguard the Company’s competitiveness.
Precision and expertise in tool-making
A sophisticated vehicle design achieved through precision and expertise is our guiding principle. To implement this, we need to build our own tools for automobile manufacturing. It is the only way we can guarantee short throughput times with high cost-effectiveness in production.
Synchronized flow production forms the basis of our current production system. We have therefore successively synchronized all processes in the building of press tools and also in plant engineering and the construction of testing equipment. The use of an end-to-end, software-based control matrix facilitates capacity planning up to each individual workstation. Quality gates ensure that errors are systematically identified and eliminated after each step. Only products that have been checked and found to be in order are passed on to the next process interfaces.
Looking forward, our challenges will not only be shorter production cycles and price pressure, but above all new technologies. Intelligent tools are the basis for reliable, standardized operation that is also flexible and cost-effective.