According to a media report, Volkswagen is considering building an entirely new production hall at its main plant in Wolfsburg to manufacture the future electric flagship Trinity there. However, the development of the model already appears around a year behind schedule.
To recapture: VW had announced a new electric flagship in December 2020 and, in January 2021, published the name Trinity. “The car represents the next generation of electric mobility,” Volkswagen brand CEO Ralf Brandstätter said at the time. “The Trinity is set to become the innovation leader for the Volkswagen brand.” VW had also confirmed plans to build the EV in Wolfsburg at a capacity of up to 300,000 units per year.
The German Manager Magazin now reports considerations to manufacture the Trinity in a dedicated hall. Such talks have been going on for some time, according to the company’s headquarters. A parking lot next to Hall 54, where the Golf is built, is being discussed as a concrete location, but VW has not confirmed such plans.
According to the report, the new factory facility is intended to modernise logistics at the Wolfsburg plant, which VW CEO Herbert Diess had criticised before. Highly automated factory buildings are more likely to be one-story rather than two-story and more accessible for trucks to access— the tenor of the VW boss: just as Tesla is planning it at Giga Berlin in Grünheide. More efficient processes should reduce production costs.
However, the new, more efficient production hall is also likely to be part of Diess’ job-cutting plans, which recently made the rounds. Around the Supervisory Board meeting in late September, Diess is said to have had executives draw up plans that could cost up to 30,000 jobs, according to media reports. Manager Magazin now writes that the works council will probably accept the new hall, even if it means producing a car there will require fewer employees.
The Group has denied the reports of 30,000 job cuts, but a spokesman for Diess followed up by saying that something still has to be done in Wolfsburg: “There is no question that we have to look at the competitiveness of our plant in Wolfsburg in view of the new market players.”
Incidentally, due in part to the global semiconductor shortage, the Wolfsburg plant faces a historic production low for 2021. By the end of September, the main plant had reportedly built just over 300,000 vehicles. If the pace continues at this rate, Wolfsburg could produce as few cars this year as it last did in 1958.
Currently, Wolfsburg is a combustion-only plant; according to current announcements, the Trinity would be the first electric model. Given the increasingly rapid shift to electric mobility, the works council is now calling for electric production at the main plant from 2024. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess was not entirely uninvolved in this planning: As is well known, from 2015 to 2020, he also headed the VW brand in addition to the Group.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
manager-magazin.de (in German)
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