Volkswagen Could Boost Productivity by 50%

The German Automaker Volkswagen could raise their productivity by 50%, informed by Volkswagen AG’s top labor representative, Bernard Osterloh. Osterloh is also the deputy chairman of the supervisory board. “I see the possibility to increase productivity by up to 50% with the next model generations,” Osterloh said, without giving details on its possible time frame.

But before this, Osterloh added that the executive board would first need to streamline the Volkswagen assembly system to allow for the quick and easy production of high quality cars. “We have to make the production easier, but at the same time maintain the diversity of models and variants for the customer,” Osterloh said. Productivity rose by 23% between 2004 and 2006, he further added.

Osterloh explained that the situation at Europe’s largest automaker by sales has eased compared with 2006, when the company became involved in a wide-ranging restructuring program. But still Osteloh acknowledges that risks remain. Thus, more efforts by the management and staff are needed.

By November, Volkswagen should have come up with a decision on the production of the new model in Wolfsburg, he added. The model will be based on the Volkswagen Golf hatchback and its annual production capacity would be between 40,000 to 45,000 vehicles. This would hike the Wolfsburg plant’s total capacity to 480,000 vehicles per year and safeguard 1,100 jobs.

Volkswagen is manufacturing its Golf and Golf Plus at its plant in Wolfsburg, as well as several components. Also, the Auto 5000 GmbH unit produces the Touran van in that plant.

Osterloh also addressed the issue on the planned commercial vehicles alliance between Volkswagen, MAN AG (MAN.XE) and said that it will take a while before it materializes. “The issue will become more concrete in the second half of the year at the earliest,” he said.

Synergies can be made specifically in fleet management, dealing with pre-owned vehicles, and engines and electronic systems too, he added. It is important that this synergies be completed, as only then will all three companies be able to compete in the market in the long term, Osterloh said.