Volkswagen is rearranging the occupancy of its plants and is going public at an unusually early stage. Two months before the traditional planning round in November, the company and the works council named the first key points that had previously been discussed by the supervisory board. As usual, the plans will be finally decided in November, as VW announced after the meeting. Then VW also wants to release the funds required for the conversions.
The end of a pet project of former VW boss Herbert Diess has already been sealed: the new “Trinity” plant in Wolfsburg, which was supposed to be built there on a greenfield site by 2026, will not be built. The two billion euro new building, which had been on the brink since the end of 2022, has now finally been canceled. Instead, new electric models will be built directly at the main factory.
After the ID.3, which will initially be launched in small numbers this year, and an electric SUV in Tiguan format planned for 2026, a new electric Golf will also be built in Wolfsburg later, works council boss Daniela Cavallo announced. There will also be a sister model to the Cupra, which will also come from Wolfsburg. She did not give any specific dates. The basis for both models is the new SSP electric platform, which should be ready for use by the end of the decade, it was said.
More time for the software
“Trinity” was Diess’ flagship project. The new CEO Oliver Blume, who replaced Diess a year ago, postponed the launch of the future model, planned for 2026, by at least a year and a half shortly after taking office in order to have more time to develop the software. Since then, Wolfsburg has also examined whether the new factory building is still necessary.
The “Trinity” model is now to be built in Zwickau. In addition, according to the works council, the successor to the Audi Q4 e-tron, which is already being built in Zwickau, will also be built there. Recently there were concerns in Saxony about the future of the location. In view of the sluggish demand for the electric models previously built there, VW has cut production and 269 temporary jobs are being cut. There were also fears that Audi could completely relocate the Q4 e-tron, which was previously built in Zwickau, to Brussels.
VW Commercial Vehicles (VWN) in Hanover, on the other hand, is losing an important Audi order: the Ingolstadt-based VW subsidiary now wants to produce the upper-class electric model, which should be built here from 2026, in its own factory in Neckarsulm, as a spokeswoman said. She didn't give a date. The model was originally supposed to start in 2024, but was then postponed several times. Porsche had already withdrawn from the joint project with Audi in 2021.
Electro-Porsche in Osnabrück
According to the works council in Hanover, VWN should instead develop its own “Space” vehicle family. In return, VWN will receive its own electric commercial vehicle platform from the group based on the future group architecture SSP. So far, VWN has been building its electric Bulli ID. Buzz on a modified car architecture that was adopted from the ID.4. According to a VWN spokesman, the location agreement for Hanover, which also includes job security, will be extended until at least 2032. Previously it was valid until 2029.
The VW factory in Osnabrück has been awarded the contract for a new electric model from Porsche. The VW factory is currently producing the combustion engines Cayman and Boxster for Porsche. After they are phased out, an electric Porsche will follow. A report by “Manager Magazin” that Porsche could completely take over the former Karmann factory was rejected by VW. The location will continue to work for Porsche, but will remain a VW factory.
“With the plant allocation that has now been approved, we are also making a substantial contribution to a strong, competitive VW brand as part of our performance program,” said VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer. Schäfer announced the billion-dollar efficiency program in the summer, but has not yet given any details. The design is still being worked on, it said. “We are using the switch to electromobility to reduce the complexity of production and to set up our plants even more efficiently,” added production director Christian Vollmer. This reduces costs and secure jobs.
It was announced that a reuse concept would be developed “in the short term” for the Transparent Manufactory in Dresden. Initially, ID.3 production will continue there. “Automobilwoche” recently reported that VW wanted to stop vehicle production in Dresden and use the location differently in the future. VW rejected this. At least in the short term, there are no plans to stop production at the site. “The role of production in the Transparent Factory will continue with the ID.3 as agreed for the next few years,” said the head of the works council there, Thomas Aehlig. "Unless the plan that has been developed for the concept of the future takes effect earlier."