inside
The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Employees

"Giving It Everything We’ve Got"

Change of top personnel in Hanover – Interview with Thomas Hahlbohm and Udo Hitzmann.

Udo Hitzmann (right) and Thomas Hahlbohm in the production of the Hanover plant.

Thomas Hahlbohm is the new plant manager for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. He succeeds Udo Hitzmann, who is going into retirement. In this double interview, they talk about the ongoing modernization of the plant and even offer some personal insights into their hobbies and original career aspirations.

What do you have most in common?
Udo: “We always give it everything we’ve got!”
Thomas: “Absolutely! We’re also similar in the fact that we can both draw a great deal from our experiences.”

Thomas, what challenges does the Hanover plant face over the coming months?
Thomas: “Well first of all, we have a large number of technical challenges to contend with – including electrification. And then, of course, there are several upcoming launches that we need to start preparing for properly. Added to that, we have a whole host of conversions and projects to manage, such as the new top coat line 1 and the automated body shop finishing process. We have also been looking at making our assembly processes fit for the future, and Udo has already made a start in this regard. The other huge task we face is ensuring our employees all have the relevant qualifications.”

So Udo, what were your career aspirations when you were younger?
Udo: “I actually wanted to be a pastor! I was seriously planning on studying religion after finishing college. My other option was equally random – I also wanted to be a chef. I have still kept up my passion for cooking after all these years (laughs). I never would have dared to dream that I would one day be the plant manager of such an incredible site.”

We’re curious to know – what do you get up to in your free time?
Thomas: “I enjoy sports like football and sailing. Traveling is also a big part of my life, too. I love spending what little free time I have left with my family, discovering new places and learning as much as I can about the world.”
Udo: “Hunting is my hobby, and I’m going to be able to do it a lot more now. My eldest son lives in Japan, which means I have the perfect opportunity to learn more about this multifaceted country whenever I want. My wife and I have been looking to get a fishing permit for a long time now, so I think it’s finally going to be time to get one.”

Thomas Hahlbohm

has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He started his professional career back in 1985 with an apprenticeship as a car mechanic at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. After achieving his high-school diploma, gaining a scholarship, and completing his degree, he held various positions of responsibility in Hanover, Poznań, and Pacheco. Thomas was then Head of Site Planning and Plant Technology from 2015.