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Production Sites

Happy Birthday, Braunschweig!

The plant is turning 80 years old. The location is on its way to becoming a center of excellence for battery systems.


This week, the Braunschweig plant is celebrating a big birthday. A birthday that is rare in the automotive world: employees and their families and friends will celebrate the plant’s 80th birthday at a family day on Sunday, September 16. Braunschweig holds a very special place among the brand’s more than 50 plants. Like the main plant in Wolfsburg, it has played a definitive role in Volkswagen history.

Volkswagen plant Braunschweig

1938 is the key year, and is when the first Volkswagen plants were built in south-east Lower Saxony. Double act: the main plant for the "KdF car" (Beetle) near Fallersleben, and the "Vorwerk" plant in the north of Braunschweig. The plant would supply tools and devices, as well as qualified, specialist workers from its apprenticeship programs. 250 trainees started there in the summer of 1938. However, the war soon brought their training to an almost complete stop. The plant was then used for the arms industry.

Training during the Wirtschaftswunder: trainees in Hall 1.

The Beetle and later the VW Bus paved the way to a better future, including for employees at Braunschweig. The two Volkswagens became engines that help drive the Wirtschaftswunder – and the plant in Braunschweig was part of the action. When the series production of the Beetle started in Wolfsburg in late 1945, it was decided that Braunschweig would deliver machinery, tools, carburetors, clutches, shock absorbers and gasoline pumps for Beetles and vans.

In just a few years, the plant developed into a specialist site for components. It started with the construction of front axles. The brakes, steering gears and pedal systems used in Volkswagen models were also "made in Braunschweig." This fueled the site’s expansion. By July 1971, some 7,700 employees were on board – more than ever before in the plant’s history.

A part of Braunschweig: the plant on the left behind Eintracht stadium.

In the long history of the plant, there have always been ups and downs. During the automotive crisis of 1974/1975, the workforce shrank to 4,925 employees. The Braunschweig plant expanded its most successful fields and took on new products to increase its competitiveness and secure employment. The rear axles for the Golf, which have been produced there since 1979, played a major role.

This was the first step  in making Braunschweig the leading axle plant in the Volkswagen Group. What followed was the transformation of the plant into a systems supplier – in other words, a supplier that pre-assembles modules like power steering or an entire chassis, and then prepares them sequentially for installation. In 2000, Braunschweig began manufacturing rear axles for the mid-range models. This was followed by module assembly for the axles for the Touran in Hall 30, which went into operation in 2003. Five years later, the Center of Excellence for Steering was established in Hall 31. High-volume production: in 2016, employees in Braunschweig manufactured two million steering systems, 1.7 million front axles and 3.6 million rear axles.

Hall 32a, the future heart of battery systems, is built next to the Center of Excellence for Axle Assembly and Steering. Concentrated expertise in development, planning and production of battery systems finds a home in the Center of Excellence for e-Mobility. The Braunschweig team develops the components for electric cars. These are predominantly battery systems for the modular electrification toolkit (MEB) on which, for example, the I.D. family is based. The center will produce half a million battery systems every year. It will also produce steering systems, shock absorbers, pivot bearings and brake discs – including for autonomous driving in future. After 80 years, the site has a lot of experience under its belt – and is well on its way to a vibrant future.

A piece of the future: the production of battery systems in Hall 23.

The Family Festival.
The Highlights

Where?  Plant 1, Gifhorner Strasse
 
When?   September 16 from 10 am to 7 pm

What?    An entertaining stage program, children’s activities, introduction to the Center of Excellence, BUDDe and T-Cross Breeze showcars, Volkswagen classics and much more
 
How?     Tickets for admission are only available with the invitations that have already been issued and a valid plant ID.
              
Further information can be found at "Chassis online" on the Volkswagen portal. "Fahrwerk online" im Volkswagen Portal.

Sally Perel

The guest of honor at the family day is 93-year-old Sally Perel, who was born nearby in Peine. He survived the Nazi era with a secret identity, even as he worked in the former Volkswagen plant in Braunschweig as a trainee under the name Josef ("Jupp"). At the family day, he will present the award for respect and tolerance that was named after him. The IGS Comprehensive School in Volkmarode has already won the award twice. In the new school year, the school will be renamed the Sally Perel Comprehensive School.

"I’m celebrating my plant’s 80th birthday and looking forward to …

Marcus Schärling
Foreman in Prototype Construction, at Volkswagen for 27 years

… at least another 80years, plenty of orders and many innovative new products that will help the location to get even better in the long term."


Evelyn Osterwald
Technical Project Manager in Preliminary Development, at Braunschweig for nine years

… being part of the family. In future, I hope that we will achieve our ambitious goals while never forgetting our humanity – because every employee is important and deserves to be included."

Patrick Schröter
Shop Steward and Touch-up Welder in the Chassis Center of Excellence, at Volkswagen for twelve years

… as a young person, the growth of the site and I hope for a secure future  for the entire team and my plant."