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Beetle in Our Hearts, Jetta on Our Minds

The Tiguan, featuring a long wheelbase, a Golf update, and now the new Jetta1 – Volkswagen de México 
has launched three new series in the space of just a year. In this interview, CEO Andreas Hinrichs talks about the new cars, the performance of his team, the role of the legendary Beetle, and a special soccer match at the World Cup this summer.

Andreas Hinrichs

has been CEO of Volkswagen de México since March 2011. Prior to this role, he was Head of Mechanical Engineering at Volkswagen Autoeuropa in Portugal. Hinrichs is married with two children. His hobbies include golf, reading, and cars.

How did 2017 shape up for Volkswagen de México?
It was a challenging year for everyone. March saw us get started with the series launch of the Tiguan with the long wheelbase here in Puebla. Fast forward to July and the series launch for our Golf family upgrade was underway, and then of course we launched the seventh generation of the Jetta in December. Three launches in a year – I can only thank our team for all their hard work. They did such a great job. Something like this can only be achieved if everyone is pulling in the same direction.

How is it looking for the Mexican automobile market right now?
The Volkswagen brand has an incredibly strong image here in Mexico since the country has grown up and evolved with the legendary Beetle. The Beetle has always been around and is firmly rooted within the hearts of the people here. But today it’s the Jetta that’s on everyone’s mind. Volkswagen has always been something special to the people here in Mexico.

The new Jetta recently enjoyed a strong premiere at the Detroit Auto Show. This global bestseller is manufactured at your plant in Puebla. How is the series going?
The series has gotten off to a successful start and the start-up curve is all going according to plan. We know how important the Jetta is for our plant and the region as a whole, so a successful launch is crucial.

 

Were there any particular challenges that the team at your plant had to face during the series production process?
For the most part, we used the same plants for the Jetta as we did for the previous generation to keep costs as low as possible. This is why we ran the pilot series on the same lines as the old model at the same time. The team did an outstanding job with this, as it required a huge amount of discipline from all divisions.

 


»The Volkswagen brand has an incredibly strong image here in Mexico.«


Where do you see Volkswagen de México in five years?
Even here at our plant, we will start to see the SUV trend growing stronger and stronger over the years to come. And that’s not only at the Puebla plant, but also for the Mexican market as a whole. As for the North America region, Volkswagen de México is set to become an important foothold for conventional vehicles and power trains. After all, this is an area in which we have a huge amount of expertise and also low production costs. My prediction is that the Mexican market will record stable growth with a brief hiatus in 2018.

You have been heading up the Volkswagen subsidiary here in Mexico for many years now. How are you and your family getting on in Mexico?
We have been living in Mexico for seven years and have come to love and appreciate the country and its people. In fact, it’s become our second home. We have made lots of new friends and the whole family is having a fantastic time.

It’s the World Cup in Russia this summer and Germany will be taking on Mexico in the first group match. Will you have two hearts racing instead of one for this clash?
It couldn’t have worked out better! No matter which side goes out, we can’t really lose so we’re just looking forward to a great game of soccer.

What role does the US market play for Volkswagen de México?
The United States is by far our largest export market and so they are incredibly important for our site. This is part of the reason why it was the right move to combine Volkswagen de México with the USA and Canada to form part of the North America region.

were built by the Silao team 
in the past year

work at the plants in 
Puebla (Vehicles/Components) 
and Silao (Engines)

were produced by the Puebla team in 2017