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The employee magazine
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Production Sites

Kassel: Keeping Us on the Move for 60 Years

The Second Largest German Plant Celebrates its Birthday.


A special anniversary is coming up at the end of August: the Kassel location is turning 60 and employees are celebrating the occasion with a huge family day featuring attractions for young and old alike (see info box). Employees at over 100 work stations across ten halls will also be showing their families around their work place and letting them experience their life at Volkswagen  – and what a varied work life it is. Some employees describe working there as a vibrant hub with a great deal of variety and diversity. In fact, the Kassel Volkswagen plant has been one of the most multidisciplinary sites for the past 60 years, with around 17,000 employees manufacturing gearboxes, electric drive units, body parts, cylinder block and gearbox housing, structural die casts, and exhaust systems. The global headquarters of the Group After Sales division has also been located here since 1969 with the largest logistics center in Europe: the ”Original Teile Center“ (Original Parts Center), or OTC for short. Over 70,000 people living in the region enjoy the economic benefits of the plant and its employees in North Hesse.

Its capacity to be flexible and innovative has set the Kassel plant apart for the past six decades. Originally, it was only old gearboxes and engines that were meant to be reconditioned at the new North Hesse location, but Volkswagenwerk AG expanded rapidly during the 1950s and 60s. And – to this day – we still talk about this period as aa Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle“. Beetles and vans were bestsellers not only in Germany and Europe, but also across the world. In a bid to increase the production capacity at the Wolfsburg factory, Volkswagen first moved the engine reconditioning unit to Kassel. The site commenced operations in the summer of 1958 and quickly expanded soon after. Gearbox production was soon incorporated into the first newly built assembly hall and a large-scale pressing facility was eventually added to Hall 2 in 1964.

The pressing facility droned on, as many would put it, into the new millennium, but then it was time for a change. The process known as hot forming hardens steel to make it highly flexible and strong so that less material is required for the same purpose. This is what helps to make the Golf up to 18 kilograms lighter than it would be using steel pressed in the conventional way.

All You need to know about the Kassel Plant

…  The Kassel location is spread across 3.4 million square meters – that’s around 340 soccer fields.

… Employees on the gearbox line 
manufacture around four million gearboxes each year.

… The most popular original part from Kassel is the oil drain plug, with around 12 million of these shipped globally every year.

474,000 different original 
parts are stored in the Original Parts Center –
the largest logistics center in Europe.

The five-meter-high “Volkswagen“ letters on top of 
the plant’s facade were fitted with LED lights in 2010, which reduced itsthe energy consumption from 
24 kilowatts to just two.

… In the last year, the Kassel-based Customer Service Center leased out 8,815 employee vehicles in addition to purchasing 1,142 company cars and 
1,080 new vehicles.

… Every year, 63,000 metric tons of light metal are processed in Europe’s largest light metal foundry.

291,745 sprinkler heads ensure that the site’s assembly halls are protected from fire with 
7.8 million liters of water, stored in tanks, and always at the ready in case of fire.

… Currywurst is as popular as ever, with 95,000 sausages eaten in the 
cafeteriacanteen in the 
 last year alone.

Engineers in the plant have started making early preparations for the mobility of the future. Over the past ten years, they have worked on their own initiative to develop an electric drive unit and have competed against international players from the automotive industry. Both the e-Golf¹ and  the e-up!² are powered by drive systems from Kassel. The systems also feature in the Golf GTE³, the Passat GTE⁴, and the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid vehicle. Each of these three models has a gasoline engine, an electric motor, and a hybrid gearbox under the hood, all of which are “made in Kassel”.

And so, from next year, exactly 60 years after first opening, electric engines will be built for the I.D. series of vehicles in Hall 1. These will be named Base+ and Base–. Looking to the future, it will be possible to manufacture up to one million of these units a year. By contrast, other products are being gradually phased out, including the HL600 rear axle differential and MQ250 gearbox favorite (see left). During this period of transformation, the former gearbox assembly hall at the Kassel location is expected to become the centerpiece of electric mobility.

But that’s not all. To become even more competitive while still maintaining its roots, the Original Parts Factory is currently being developed on the site of the old large-scale pressing facility. 
Many vehicle body parts, including fenders, foods, and door panels, are manufactured for the on-site Group After Sales division. And while the presses in Hall 2 stamp in perfect synchronicity, the space directly opposite is buzzing with the whizzing and whirring of the robots manufacturing exhaust systems. This is where the employees have manufactured around three million emissions purification systems to date to comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard for gasoline and diesel vehicles.

How the Kassel plant became what it is today – milestones in the location’s history

Saying goodbye to a legend

1960: It all started 
with an engine for the Beetle. Its gearbox, called simply the “113”, was the first to be manufactured in Kassel in 1960. Production of the gearbox ended in 1983 after some 13.5 million units were produced.

The site had the most modern manufacturing processes in 1987 when the MQ250 gearbox assembly line started production. But after 31 years and more than 14 million gearboxes, the last MQ250 gearbox came off the production line just a few days ago. This means that the MQ250 surpasses even the Beetle 113 gearbox (above) in terms of numbers and is the most manufactured gearbox in the plant’s 60-year history. Over the next year, 
employees will start producing electric drive units 
for models in the I.D. family.

2018: Isabell Fetters and the three MQ250 engineers – Frank Reinhold, 
Michael Leib and Thomas Braun who were there from the very beginning, standing with the MQ250 gearbox that was manufactured in Kassel.

See you at the Family Day

A colorful firework of shows, music and 
attractions for all ages.

- Employees showcase their kills
- Over 100 stations in ten halls: employees show their Volkswagen 
world to their families
- Tours through the production facility
- Tuning and classic car exhibition
- Face-painting, inflatable 
water balls bungee trampoline
- … and much more

Happy birthday to the Kassel site! My hopes 
for the future are…

“… that we all continue to work together, reach our collective goals, and treat each other with honesty and care.”

Karsten Kelb, Fitter in the CIP workshop, Volkswagen employee for 33 years

“… that the people here continue to experience a diversity of cultures and never lose their solidarity with those in need.”

Carolin Geist, Works Council employee for 11 years

“… that we continue to guarantee mobility for our customers the world over with the genuine parts and components made in North Hesse.”

Andre Bangert, Technical Consultant for 
Group After Sales for 10 years