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Ralf Sacht: "The Touareg¹ Makes Every Drive an Experience"

The Chairman of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Slovakia gives an interview about the new luxury SUV and the incredible flexibility of his team. The team builds cars for five corporate brands.


Mr. Sacht, you have already driven the new Touareg. What do you like about the luxury SUV from the Volkswagen brand?
The Touareg is an all-round well-built model. The interior architecture, for example, makes an impression the moment you set eyes on it. The fully digital Innovision Cockpit looks almost futuristic and satisfies our customers’ preferences in the digital age. And from the outside, the Touareg is hard to miss, with its broad shoulders and bold, dynamic lines. But what I like most is how fun it is to drive. The cars we make should spark emotion – when you see them and when you drive them, of course. The Touareg does this with incredible success. Every drive is an experience. I am confident that customers will feel the same. After all, the Touareg is a top product from the inside out!

The Bratislava plant produces cars both small and large, as well as the new small family lines including the up!, Škoda Citigo and Seat Mii, and not least, the giant Touareg. What skills do you need to do this?
The Bratislava plant is unique. After all, we build models from five different brands under one roof. The Touareg already has a successful, 16-year history thanks to the hard work of our employees. It has always taken huge leaps forward when it comes to customer features. What’s more, the complexity of the vehicle electronics and driver assistance systems has grown. This has created a challenge for our team and suppliers as well. Flexibility, willingness to learn and openness to innovation have always been the key to our success. But neither would it be possible without the remarkable passion of our colleagues. Teamwork is everything.

How did you prepare employees for the launch of the new Touareg?
In Volkswagen Slovakia’s 26-year history, we have launched several new models from different brands. And in the past few months, we have even launched three SUVs almost at the same time, and gotten them ready for serial production. Every one of these successful launches is proof of the team’s ability and the result of practical experience. The launch teams were therefore compiled of skilled and experienced colleagues who could share their knowledge with new team members. As a multi-brand location, the exchange of experience after the launches that took place as part of lessons learned played a particularly important role for us at Volkswagen Slovakia.

"Thanks to our employees, the Touareg has already a successful, 16-year history behind it."

Ralf Sacht, Chairman of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Slovakia

RALF SACHT (55)

has been the Chairman of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Slovakia since February 1, 2016. In this role, he also serves as the Board Member for Technology. The focus of his global work is the management of launches throughout the brand and Group, designing the launch process, product and process optimization, as well as the quality assurance of the launch. Sacht started his professional career in 1984 as an employee in vehicle assembly at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. During the course of his career, he has held various management roles at Volkswagen. He also managed the pilot hall of Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava in 2003. One year later, he took overlaunch management for the Group, and in 2007, he was appointed head of the pilot hall for the Volkswagen brand. From 2010 onwards, Sacht became the director of pre-series production for the Volkswagen brand.

For its world premiere in our most important market, China, the Touareg drove 16,000 kilometers – from Bratislava to Beijing. The first proof of its robustness and reliability?
At Volkswagen Slovakia, we produce innovative vehicles of the highest quality for discerning customers around the world – and we’re not afraid to prove it. The fact that the new Touareg successfully completed the route to its world premiere in China was a fantastic achievement, but not a surprise. This new start was accompanied with strong symbolism. Together, we said goodbye to the latest addition to the Volkswagen family in the spirit of our guiding principle: “from Bratislava to the whole world.” On its very first journey, the Touareg crossed eleven countries on two continents. As Volkswagen Slovakia is the only plant where the Touareg is produced, I’m sure it will reach even further-flung corners of the world.

The Touareg is now also being released on Volkswagen’s home market in Germany. What are your hopes for the new top model from your plant?
Not just many customers, but many satisfied customers. We have put an exceptional car together. Now it’s the customers’ turn to drive the Touareg with pride. And its birthplace in Slovakia will always be a part of it. Wherever in the world you might encounter a Touareg, you can be sure: it is “made in Slovakia.”

Volkswagen
Slovakia

13,700

employees work at Volkswagen Slovakia.

361,776

vehicles were produced by the employees in 2017.

Models:

Volkswagen Touareg, up! and e-up!², Audi Q8 and Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Škoda Citigo
and Seat Mii.