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Production Sites

Cердечно поздравляем, Калуга*
*Congratulations, Kaluga

The Volkswagen plant in the Russian city of Kaluga is ten years old this year. It celebrated its birthday a few days ago with a big party to which all the staff and their families were invited. We look back at the history of one of Volkswagen’s younger sites.

Ten years – on board right from the start

What do you remember about when the plant first opened?

“It’s crazy how fast time flies. To me, the day I joined this amazing Volkswagen team seems like just yesterday. I have watched the plant evolve from a few small offices with an aroma of coffee into a huge factory with impressive machinery and equipment. It has taken ten years to transform a chamomile field into a factory that produces the world’s best cars. These ten years have been fantastic, fun, and eventful. I am so happy and also incredibly proud to have been able to play a part in this amazing continuing project at Volkswagen Group Rus in Kaluga.”

Anna Stepanova, Head of Occupational Health and Safety

Which cars have been produced in Kaluga over the past ten years?

“Over the past ten years, several different models have rolled off our factory’s production line, including the Polo, the Tiguan, the Jetta, the Touareg, the Multivan, the Škoda Rapid, the Fabia, the Octavia, the Superb, the Yeti, etc. My favorite is the Tiguan. This SUV is universal and has the best technical specs.”

Natalya Khlevovaya, General Procurement

What’s your wish for the future of the factory?

“I wish for fewer economic crises for my factory. After all, the prosperity
of the entire staff depends on the prosperity of the company.”

Eduard Namakonov, Assembly

What is so special about working for Volkswagen in Kaluga?

“I am very pedantic. For me, it is really important to see everything here working like clockwork. The production culture is incredible, the halls are clean and tidy, the workstations are ­ergonomically designed. These are the perfect conditions for building the world’s best cars. I find it simply fascinating.”

Igor Lihitskij, Quality Assurance

What have been the highlights for you in the factory’s history?

“The past ten years have been very eventful. It’s hard to pick out the highlights. The SKD and CKD launches were impressive events. I feel proud when I remember the torch relay run through the factory during the Olympic Games in Sochi. The opening of our engine production plant was very important, and was even ­attended by the Prime Minister. During this period, I was able to develop both personally and professionally through business trips to Wolfsburg and Salzgitter and through close collaboration with the specialists in my team here. However, the most important thing for me was meeting my wife – that was a real twist of fate. She has been working here for the past ten years, too. That says a lot.”

Andrej Afanasjev, Engine Production

How Kaluga became what it is

A decade of highs and lows

3 questions for Oliver Grünberg

Oliver Grünberg (47) has been the technical director at Volkswagen Group Rus since April of this year. As plant manager, he is responsible for passenger car and engine production in Kaluga as well as the Nizhny Novgorod production facility.

1 You have been working – on and off – for Volkswagen Group Rus since 2007. How has the Kaluga plant changed during this time?

Over the past ten years, Kaluga has experienced all the highs and lows of the ­Russian automotive market. There were times when things weren’t always looking up, but the team rose to the challenge and has grown significantly as a result.

2  The Kaluga plant is often praised for its efficiency. What is its recipe for success?

The mixture of mentalities brought into the factory by employees deployed here from the Group and the Russian team’s willingness to make the best out of every situation are both crucial factors.

With ­regard to this, I would also like to thank my predecessors Joseph Baumert and ­Andreas Klar for their work as plant managers. Working together with the team, they were instrumental in turning Kaluga into the site I had the pleasure of taking over six months ago.

3 You’re allowed one wish on your birthday. What’s your wish for the Kaluga site?

A return to full-capacity, three-shift operation is definitely essential for making the most significant step forward in terms of economic efficiency. We think that we will achieve this by 2019. However, until then, we have to tap into all other sources of potential to ensure that the production of new products is profitable. This is the only way to secure the long-term future of the site – and that is what I wish for.

The Kaluga plant in figures

110,000

vehicles (Volkswagen Tiguan, Polo, Škoda Rapid) were produced on the Kaluga site in 2016.

4,300

employees currently work in the Kaluga plant.

12,000

square meters is the area of the plant’s body shop, built especially to produce the new Tiguan.

180

million euros were invested in the Kaluga plant last year for the launch of the new Tiguan.