Jörg Müller (56) previously the Head of Production and Logistics in the Volkswagen Group China in Beijing, took over the management of the Osnabrück site on March 1. He followed Ulrich Riestenpatt gt. Richter as Management Spokesperson and Managing Director of Technology, who has headed Volkswagen Osnabrück GmbH since 2016 and will be available to Volkswagen AG in an advisory capacity until the end of the year. Jörg Müller holds a degree in electrical engineering and has worked for the Group for 29 years. From 2002, his responsible functions included plant management in Braunschweig, from 2005 onwards, Operations Director at Volkswagen do Brasil, from 2007 onwards, Group Representative, and then Head of Volkswagen in India, before moving to the Volkswagen Group China in 2013. His last position there was Vice President of Production and Logistics.
Andrea Morgan-Schönwetter (43) has been head of the newly created Recruiting and HR Marketing department in Wolfsburg since the beginning of the year. Prior to this, she worked for Deutsche Telekom for 18 years in various positions in personnel marketing and recruiting. The graduate in business administration already set up a central recruiting center at Deutsche Telekom. Morgan-Schönwetter is responsible for the Group and brand, and reports directly to Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian. In a pilot project, she will initially push the recruitment of software developers and IT experts.
Modular E-Toolkit To Be Made Available to Third-Party Providers
The Volkswagen Group will be making its modular electrification toolkit (MEB) available to other manufacturers. Ensuring the broadest possible distribution of the MEB and the associated economies of scale will greatly reduce the costs of e-mobility. This will make individual mobility affordable and usable for many people in the future. Volkswagen has projected that some 15 million purely electric vehicles will be produced using the MEB in the first phase. The world’s first partner company outside the Group to use the modular electrification toolkit will be Aachen-based company e.GO Mobile AG, which will use the MEB to bring electric cars beyond the models offered by Volkswagen to the market.
Group CEO Herbert Diess says, “We’ve proven with our modular transverse toolkit that we are platform experts. More than 100 million of our vehicles are based on this platform. With the MEB platform, we will be rocketing this successful concept into the electric age and working with third-party providers. The aim is to establish the MEB as the gold standard for e-mobility. We want to use it to lay the foundations for CO2-neutral, safe, and comfortable individual mobility available to as many people as possible.” Even emotionally-charged limited series vehicles like the ID. Buggy can be easily and cost-effectively produced using the MEB. Diess says, “I’m pleased that e.GO will be the first partner to use our modular electrification toolkit as the basis for a vehicle project we will work on together.”
Test Program for ID. R is Successfully Launched
On the Circuito de Almería in Andalusia, the preparatory stage for the world record attempt on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in the fully electric ID. R has begun. Driver Romain Dumas completed the first test drives in Spain. In the summer, he wants to beat the current best time for electric vehicles (6:45.900 minutes) on the 20.832-kilometer racetrack in the Eifel.
“After the functional tests in Oschersleben, the first test drives in Spain also went to plan,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “It is very exciting to experience the ID. R on a real racetrack after its record-breaking performance at Pikes Peak. Optimizing an electric sportscar for the Nürburgring is a great new challenge for our entire team. We are all looking forward to testing the power of electromobility on the legendary Nordschleife.” The ID. R is the sporty forerunner of the new ID. product family, with which Volkswagen will offer a wide range of fully electric vehicles from 2020 onwards.
The focus of the four-day test drives in Spain was the adaptation of the software that controls the balance between the mechanical brake and recuperation on-board the ID. R. “On a secure racetrack like the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, you can get much closer to the limit than during the hill climb at Pikes Peak,” says Romain Dumas, describing the differences. “I can brake harder and accelerate more aggressively. Adapting the software will fine-tune the performance of the electric motors for our new record attempt.”
2018 Was a Successful Year for the Group
The Volkswagen Group had a successful 2018. Sales increased by €6.3 billion to €235.8 billion, while operating profit before special items was €17.1 (17.0) billion, on a par with the previous year. At 7.3 percent (7.4 percent), the operating return on sales before special items was at the upper end of the target range. Operating profit amounted to €13.9 (13.8) billion and, as in the previous year, was negatively impacted by special items of €3.2 (3.2) billion relating to the diesel crisis. Net liquidity in the Automotive division remained solid at €19.4 (22.4) billion. The sustained positive development of operating profits was driven by a slight increase in the number of vehicles delivered – up 0.9 percent to 10.8 million vehicles worldwide. A new record for us.
Group CEO Herbert Diess: “We did well in 2018, especially against the backdrop of the WLTP changeover, which led to considerable distortions in our sales development. The headwind in certain important markets will probably be even tougher in 2019. Our e-offensive will take off with new models. Overall, however, considerable effort will be necessary to achieve our ambitious goals in the new financial year.”
The trade-in bonus is valid nationwide until April 30
The Volkswagen brand is expanding its trade-in bonus for replacing older diesel vehicles by April 30 to all of Germany. It is offered for Euro 4 and Euro 5 diesel vehicles from any manufacturer during a trade-in – in addition to the value of the used vehicle.
The trade-in bonus for new cars is between 500 and 7,000 euros, depending on the model. Sales Director Jürgen Stackmann: “This underlines our ongoing commitment to improving air quality and avoiding driving bans in German cities.”
The environmental premium offered when scrapping a Euro 1 to Euro 4 diesel vehicle continues to apply nationwide until otherwise stated.
More information on the trade-in bonus is available from the free hotline (05361) 83 89 99 60, on volkswagen.de and from participating Volkswagen partners.
Celebration: Five-millionth Tiguan¹ Built in Wolfsburg
At the start of the new year, Volkswagen celebrated its latest production milestone as the five-millionth Tiguan left the production line in the Wolfsburg plant.
“Our team’s knowledge and expertise, our amazing team spirit, and the enthusiasm we inject into making our Volkswagen models are the basis for this magnificent success, and a strong foundation for our SUV strategy,” explains Head of Production Andreas Tostmann.
Works Council Chair Bernd Osterloh added, “The Tiguan guarantees ten thousand jobs for highly qualified colleagues around the world and makes a significant contribution to profits. This is why it is important that we don’t cut costs in the development and production of the Tiguan, so that we can continue to impress our customers with this exciting car in the future.”
Looking back, production of the Tiguan started in 2007 in the Wolfsburg plant. In the first full production year of 2008, more than 120,000 cars came off the production line. From there, Volkswagen continued its steady climb as it distributed more than half a million Tiguan cars around the world in 2015.
A year later, Volkswagen introduced the second generation of the compact SUV. It was the first Volkswagen SUV based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB). 2017 saw the launch of the more spacious Tiguan Allspace, which is longer by almost 22 centimeters and also available as a seven-seater.
The new generation and the extension of the range to include the Tiguan Allspace provided a positive boost: In 2017, Volkswagen sold more than 700,000 Tiguans and almost 800,000 in 2018.
¹Tiguan: Fuel consumption in l/100 km: combined 7,7–4,8; CO₂ emissions in g/km: combined 175–125; efficiency classes: D–A
Volkswagen Offers Eco-Energy
The Volkswagen Group is also entering the electricity market: With immediate effect, customers can purchase climate-friendly natural electricity, and later, other attractive charging solutions for their electric cars via the newly established subsidiary, Elli Group. Elli stands for Electric Life.
Thorsten Nicklass is responsible for the company’s green energy and smart charging services. “Our goal is for our customers to be able to charge their electric cars just as easily as their smartphones,” says the designated boss at Elli. He knows from numerous surveys that many car drivers are hesitant to switch to an electric car because they are afraid of not having enough charging opportunities. Nicklass: “We’re stepping up to relieve them of this worry.”
The first product on offer from Elli in Germany is the CO₂-neutral Volkswagen Naturstrom®. It is sourced from 100 percent solar, wind, and hydropower. “Climate protection is one of our crucial motivations. We need to act now, for the sake of our descendants,” says Nicklass. Moreover, all Elli employees will be hitting the road electrically in the future. “Electric cars are a must for us,” the CEO emphasizes.
The next offer Elli has planned: the “Volks-Wallboxes” for the launch of the ID. family. The wallbox for garages or carports can charge ID. and other model batteries overnight, at up to eleven kilowatts. Most drivers of an ID. will probably only use the charging station outside their own front door once a week, as the majority of commuters do not travel more than 50 kilometers per day.
Those who want to charge their ID. on the road instead of at home will be able to do so in the future using Elli electric fuel cards. Charging will be available at roughly 80,000 stations in Europe, in front of supermarkets, furniture stores, or at Volkswagen retailers. Some already exist. An app helps drivers find the nearest charging station.
Bram Schot (57) has been a member of the Group Executive Board since the beginning of the year, and is responsible for Group Sales. Previously, he had been appointed as CEO of Audi. Schot has thus succeeded Rupert Stadler, who left the Group in October. Schot was the Executive Board Member for Sales and Marketing at Audi since September 2017. He also temporarily assumed the duties of Chairman of the Executive Board of the Ingolstadt subsidiary in mid-June of last year. Before joining Audi, the native Dutchman was responsible for sales and marketing on the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Executive Board since 2012. He moved to the Volkswagen Group in 2011, as then-President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Italy. There, he initially supervised strategic projects in Group Sales.
Alexander Hitzinger (47), previously Senior Director of Hardware Engineering at Apple, is the new Executive Board Member for Technical Development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In addition, he will be responsible for setting up and managing the “Center for Autonomous Driving and MaaS Activities” within the Volkswagen Group. MaaS stands for “Mobility as a Service”. Hitzinger’s professional career began in 1997, as a development engineer at Toyota-Motorsport in Germany. Later, he headed the Formula 1 Development department at the English engine manufacturer, Cosworth, and was responsible , for the development of the long-distance racing car “919 hybrid” as technical director at Porsche. Hitzinger has advanced degrees in engineering and business administration.
Thomas Zahn (51), most recently Head of Sales and Marketing Germany of Volkswagen AG for six years, has been President and CEO of the Volkswagen Group Argentina since February. Holger Santel already took over Zahn’s previous role in November. Zahn is a forwarding merchant and industrial engineer, and joined Volkswagen in 1997. He headed central sales functions at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, and was Head of Sales for the two Volkswagen joint-ventures in China. In Argentina, he has replaced Hernan Pablo Vazquez Santa Cruz (55), who will be assuming other tasks within the Group. Santa Cruz joined the Volkswagen Group at Seat in 1987.
Ralf Sacht (55) has headed toolmaking for the Volkswagen brand in Wolfsburg since the beginning of the year. Prior to this, he spent three years as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava. Sacht is a qualified foreman in metalworking and has worked at Volkswagen for 34 years. Among other things, he held the position of Head of the Pilot Hall of Volkswagen Slovakia from 2004, Head of Group Start-Up Control from 2005, Head of Brand Pilot Halls in Personal Union from 2007, and Head of Pre-Series Center in Personal Union from 2010.
Faculty 73: More Applicants than Expected
A strong start for Faculty 73: almost 1,500 women and men applied for the first 100 places at Volkswagen’s new training facility for IT specialists and software developers. Ralph Linde had expected no more than 500 applicants. The Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy says, “Our expectations have been exceeded by far.”
Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian thinks that the great response makes for a brilliant start. He emphasizes, “The applicants recognized the opportunity that Faculty 73 offers: intensive training in IT and software-related areas and secure employment based on this training.” The first cohort will begin their course at the “AutoUni” in Wolfsburg in March. Based on the results from an online test as the first step in the selection process, 250 applicants – more than two thirds of them existing employees – were invited to attend the selection days. Background: the offer is aimed at Volkswagen AG employees as well as individuals seeking work and university dropouts.The training takes two years. It comprises a basic qualification, for instance in math, physics, and programming languages. This is followed by gaining an advanced qualification that focuses above all on automotive software development.
With this new training offered at Faculty 73, Volkswagen is hoping to overcome the shortage of IT specialists in the labor market. One thing is clear: the first cohort of 100 will only be the start. Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian says, “The demand for IT staff both for the brand and the Group as a whole is far greater than the supply. Partly because the launch of Faculty 73 went so well, we are already looking into whether we can take on more people to join the training program in the summer.”
Names & News
ULRICH EICHHORN (57), currently serving as Group Head of Research and Development, will assume the position of Chairman of the Management Board of IAV GmbH in Berlin with effect from January 1. Eichhorn’s current role will be taken over by Frank Welsch, Head of Technical Development for Volkswagen, in a dual role. Eichhorn holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering. After starting his career at Ford, he served as Head of Volkswagen Group Research from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he took over as Head of Technical Development at Bentley before joining the German Association of the Automotive Industry as Managing Director in 2012. He returned to Volkswagen in 2016. Welsch (54) holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He started his career in 1994 at Volkswagen Group Research. In 2009, he moved to Shanghai Volkswagen as Head of Development; in 2011, he assumed responsibility for vehicle body, equipment and safety development for the Volkswagen brand. From 2012, he was Head of Technical Development at Škoda. And in 2015, he then became Head of Technical Development for the Volkswagen brand.
OLIVER GRÜNBERG (48), who currently serves as Technical Director and Deputy General Director at Volkswagen Group Rus, is due to take over as Chairman of the Executive Board and Head of Technology at Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava. He will be replacing Ralf Sacht, who will head Toolmaking for the Volkswagen brand in Wolfsburg in future. Grünberg studied physics at Braunschweig University of Technology and obtained his doctorate there as well. He started at Volkswagen as a PhD student in 1995. Among other positions he has held, he served as Head of Production at the Kaluga plant in Russia from 2007 to 2009. He became Managing Director at Škoda in India in 2010 and took over brand planning for Škoda in Mladá Boleslav in 2014.
STEFAN DEPKA (44) is due to take over as Technical Director of Volkswagen Group Rus in February, where he will be responsible for passenger car and engine production at the Kaluga plant and for the production site in Nizhniy Novgorod. He will succeed Oliver Grünberg, who will take over as Сhairman of the Executive Board at Volkswagen Slovakia. Depka is currently Head of Production at the FAW-Volkswagen plant in Foshan, China. He previously held the same position at the Volkswagen plant in Navarra, Spain. He started with Volkswagen in 2003. Depka holds degrees in mechanical engineering and economics.
Employee Receives the Order of Merit
A very special honor for an employee in Wolfsburg – Ines Doberanzke-Milnikel (47) was awarded the Order of Merit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin a few days ago. The social education worker was honored at Bellevue Palace for her volunteer work at the Association for the Promotion of the International Youth Meeting Center Oświęcim/Auschwitz (IYMC) and for her professional and social engagement at Volkswagen.
At Volkswagen, the Magdeburg native coordinates international exchange and encounter programs, as well as memorial work at Auschwitz in Poland with trainees and managers. Over the past 30 years, more than 3,000 vocational school students from Poland and Volkswagen trainees have participated in the program. The recognition bestowed by the Office of the President states, “Her work stands for two things: personal commitment and social responsibility on the part of German companies.”
“I’m very happy,” said Ines Doberanzke- Milnikel after the ceremony. “I accept the award on behalf of all trainees and my colleagues committed to memorial work and international encounters, as well as to respect, tolerance, and openness to the world – in the Volkswagen Group, on the International Auschwitz Committee, and at the International Youth Meeting Center.”
"Litti" Visits Trainees
Pierre Littbarski surprised 70 mechatronics trainees at the Wolfsburg plant. The 1990 soccer world champion’s appearance was a special distinction for the best trainees of all four years of training.
The former head scout for VfL Wolfsburg spoke mainly about his career on the field. His message: success only works when you work as a team. “Litti” drew parallels between soccer and the job at the plant. “I wasn’t the strongest player, or the fastest. But with my strengths, I was able to bring the team forward. Find your place on the team!” he called out to the junior staff. The message was received. “The workshop was totally motivating,” said Anna-Ida Heuer. Instructor Stefan Kutz said, “On the field and in the factory, the same principle applies: I only win as a team. Pierre Littbarski did a great job conveying that.”
Employees Make Wishes Come True
What could be more valuable to give at Christmas than time? Volkswagen employees can now give part of their free time as a gift to charitable organizations from the region to fulfill people’s Christmas wishes, as part of the VW Christmas Tree Wish Campaign. This is how it works: the 35 submitted wishes can be viewed in the Volkswagen portal under “Me at VW -> Getting involved -> Volkswagen voluntary work.”. Anyone who wants to fulfill a wish can report to the “pro Ehrenamt” (voluntary work) employees, who are now organizing this campaign for the twelfth time, either by email at ehrenamt@Volkswagen.de or by telephone at 05361/913096.
The wishes are just as varied as the people and institutions in the region. If you like, you can help on a blood donation day in Gifhorn for example, set up a barefoot path at the DRK Ettenbüttel day nursery, or make Christmas decorations with the children at the Wolfsburg Hospice.
“The Christmas Tree Wish Campaign enables our employees to bring joy to the people in their region. They don’t fulfill the wishes with money, they give something far more valuable – part of their free time. I’m grateful to everyone already for this voluntary work,” said Ralf Thomas, head of the “pro Ehrenamt” organization team.
“By fulfilling these wishes we want to give something back to the clubs, associations, and charitable organizations and facilities who do so much for our society and our public welfare in the Wolfsburg region and surrounding areas,” said “pro Ehrenamt” employee, Markus Brack. “There are many people in our neighborhood who could really do with our help. I offer my thanks to all colleagues who are doing things to help others and fulfilling a wish for a good cause,” said Daniela Cavallo, member of the Works Council.
Since 2012, 150 wishes have already been fulfilled by Volkswagen employees. These wishes can be fulfilled alone or in groups. The wishes come from institutions in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Salzgitter and the Gifhorn district.
Interview with Larry D. Thompson
What does the Volkswagen workforce think about culture change and the integrity program?
Larry D. Thompson, the U.S. Monitor, wants to know. From November 27, an online survey of employees will be administered by the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI), global thought leaders in the field of integrity and compliance programs, supported by the Members of the Board of Volkswagen AG and the works council. The survey focuses on the opinions of employees regarding integrity at their workplace. The survey results will help the U.S. Monitor identify key strengths and areas of improvement regarding culture and integrity in the Volkswagen Group.
Only a random, representative sample of employees from Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Volkswagen de Mexico, and Audi de Mexico will be initially invited to participate in the survey. Selected Employees will receive an e-mail from ECI directly. It will inform about the survey, including access data and a link to the survey. Employees without own e-mail-address will receive a letter which includes all necessary information about participating in the survey.
As for the process of the survey, you should know two things:
1. Participation is voluntary and confidential. The employees are invited, but not required to participate.
2. All responses to the survey will be anonymous.
Mr. Thompson why the survey now?
We are now over a year into the Monitorship and it is important that we have a realistic view of how employees feel about the company. Specifically, it is an excellent time now to see how Volkswagen employees feel about the culture of the company given that many changes have occurred in the past few years.
What exactly will happen with the responses by the employees?
We have a third party, ECI, conducting the survey. Responses to the survey will be confidential and all data collected will be secure and in accordance with all applicable data privacy laws. I believe this survey will give employees a voice; a way to directly inform me about their views on integrity and culture. ECI will tabulate and analyze the results of the survey in confidence. The results will be used by me and by my team in an effort to examine the culture at Volkswagen.
Why is the monitor interested in what the employees at Volkswagen think?
I am very interested in what Volkswagen employees think for a number of reasons. First, the employees know the company best. Their thoughts and insights are extremely valuable to me. Additionally, we recognize that meaningful change cannot come to Volkswagen without the full support and acceptance of Volkswagen’s employees. We have a shared goal with the Company to make Volkswagen a better company.
Getting Through the Winter Without the Sniffles
There’s sniffling and sneezing in every corner again: with the uncomfortable, wet and cold winter weather, also come the first colds. “With a few simple measures, you can protect yourself well against viruses and bacteria,” says Dr. Lars Nachbar, Head of Group Healthcare and Safety. Don’t worry about being considered rude if you don’t shake hands with your sniffly colleagues, says Nachbar. Quite the contrary.: “The pathogens will continue to spread unhindered through the shaking of hands,” the physician warns. People should therefore “give one another a friendly and completely virus-free smile” instead. And what if, despite all caution, it ends up getting you? “Then the right diet can also help alleviate the symptoms.”
The doctor reveals what you should put on your plate and what you can do to clear your nose in the ten tips for colds below.
- It’s best to avoid shaking hands, as it can pass on numerous pathogens.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, then apply lotion carefully. It’s best not to touch your face or food with your hands before washing them.
- Drink enough fluids: tea, for example, not only keeps the body warm from the inside, but also prevents the mucous membranes from drying out and losing their protective function against pathogens.
- Even though it’s cold out, don’t keep your heat on at the highest level on an ongoing basis. The hot air makes for dry mucous membranes. Then the moist, protective shield in the nose, which ideally should intercept viruses, will no longer function properly. A sea salt nasal spray from over the counter can help. It’s natural and will protect against dryness. Important: ventilate rooms sufficiently, preferably at least three times a day for ten minutes. This reduces the concentration of viruses in the air, and thus the risk of infection.
- Get some exercise in the fresh air as often as possible. Bundle up against the cold and take a long walk at least twice a week. Even daily, moderate endurance sports (about 30 minutes) can increase your immune defense. Important: take special care to protect your head against the cold.
- Boost your immune system. A balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables supports both the prevention and treatment of colds. However, research has shown that vitamin C has no preventive effect, it only helps to alleviate cold symptoms.
- Starting the day with hot and cold contrast showers is good for the immune system. Tip: regular trips to the sauna can also boost the immune system.
- Get enough sleep and avoid stress: Stress and too little sleep are poison for the immune system.
- When coughing and sneezing, keep as far away as possible from other people and don’t cough into your hand, but rather into a handkerchief or the crook of your arm. Viruses and bacteria are also spread by droplet infection, i.e. they are sprayed in tiny droplets when coughing and sneezing.
- In the worst-case scenario, these proven household remedies can also help: potato poultices against coughs and hot milk with honey against sore throat – what mothers and grandmothers have successfully used to treat colds are still valid remedies today. In the event of a high fever, persistent symptoms, or even breathing difficulties and ear pain, please consult a doctor to clarify the causes.
New Tarok Pick-Up in Brazil
World premiere at South America’s largest motor show: Volkswagen presents the compact study Tarok at the São Paulo International Motor Show (November 6 to 18). The all-wheel drive all-rounder of the five-meter class combines the features of a latest generation, digitally networked SUV with the versatility of a pick-up. The Tarok especially proves its versatility in the loading area. If you want to transport a ladder or other long objects, you can easily fold the lower part of the back wall of the crew cab inwards and gain more than half a meter of storage space. You can load up to one ton of weight.
The striking eye-catchers of the Tarok are the Targa-look roof bars, the LED lighting strip at the rear, and the four-door double cabin. The Tarok comes with two 110 kW/150 bhp engines, a 2.0-liter TDI, and a 1.4-liter TSI. The four-cylinder engine can be operated with ethanol or with a gasoline-ethanol mixture. The TSI in the Tarok is combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion permanent four-wheel drive.
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