The focus was on preparations for start-up of the new ID.3 and building the expertise required for that. More than 200 pre-production vehicles of the ID.3 have already been manufactured successfully. The first ID. production vehicles are to roll off the assembly line at the end of 2019. Only e-cars will be built at Zwickau by the end of 2020 – up to 1,500 a day for Volkswagen and other Group brands.
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said: “It’s my firm conviction that Germany as an automotive location must also lead the way when it comes to electric mobility. That’s why we’re deliberately converting the Zwickau plant into the largest and most efficient e-car site in Europe. It’s impressive to see what efforts the team is making to help achieve that transformation. Zwickau can become a model for transformation in our industry.”
The largest and most efficient e-car plant in Europe is currently being established in Zwickau. It is the world’s first complete transformation of a large car factory. In the future, the plant will solely make e-vehicles based on the Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB) and have a production capacity of 330,000 vehicles a year.
Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand responsible for E-Mobility and spokesperson of the Management Board of Volkswagen Sachsen, underscores the growing importance of the locations: “The transformation to electric mobility is a huge task for Volkswagen, Volkswagen Sachsen and its workforce. We’ve successfully accomplished the first phase of that. Around half of the 1,500 new robots for body construction are already in operation, for example. The paint shop is currently being expanded and we’ll commence conversion of the first line in final assembly as planned in the summer.”
Jens Rothe, Chairman of the Central Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Sachsen, praised the broad-scale education drive for employees flanking the move toward electric mobility. “We’re working intensely to prepare our colleagues for the new topics. Around 2,800 of the 8,000 employees have already undergone training. We’re making good progress in that.”
In particular, Rothe urged policymakers and municipalities to take quicker and bolder action in expanding the charging infrastructure. “We need a lot more commitment here. My fear is that the right priorities are not always being set in this regard.” Volkswagen itself will expand the charging infrastructure in Zwickau from the current figure of 36 charging points at and around the plant to some 180 in the coming 18 months.
With regard to the more than 135,000 visitors (in 2018) and the numerous technological innovations at the Gläserne Manufaktur Dresden, Ulbrich emphasised: “We’ll further expand its specific role as a showcase for electric mobility and digitalisation. MEB vehicles will also come off the line there in the future.”
The Chemnitz engine plant is working to full capacity on a permanent basis. Under the Pact for the Future, more than 900,000 engines a year are to be built moving ahead. Capacity will be expanded gradually to enable that. Thomas Ulbrich: “The compact TSI engines from Chemnitz will earn us the money we need for our transformation to electric mobility.”
“This good news for Gliwice is a clear demonstration that our Excellent Plant Programme is being executed across all European countries with synergies and efficiency. The industrial performance will be a key enabler to serve our ambitions in the commercial vehicle market, guaranteeing our customers the best offer in this segment for all our brands,” added Yann Vincent, Executive Vice-President, Manufacturing & Supply Chain.
“Welcoming the production of large vans is a major milestone for the future of the Gliwice location and also a big challenge to achieve the highest levels of efficiency and quality for the satisfaction of business customers. We will demonstrate in the years to come our agility to adapt our processes to the production of this type of vehicle and confirm the confidence placed in us,” said Andrzej Korpak, who manages the Gliwice Groupe PSA plant.
Groupe PSA, the European LCV market leader, intends to further strengthen its market share in Europe and accelerate its development in the other regions.
The SevelSud plant (FCA/PSA joint venture located in Val di Sangro, Italy) has exceeded its manufacturing capacities over the last three years with the production of the Peugeot Boxer, Citroën Jumper and Fiat Ducato large vans.
The transition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the shared large vans platform will require additional production capacities. Groupe PSA has decided to extend its presence in Gliwice in Poland to fully utilise its predisposition and competitiveness. The plant will be transformed to accommodate light commercial vehicles and adapted to the specific platform dedicated to large vans. The investment aims at ensuring the plant’s production capacity of up to 100,000 large vans per year.
The increase in manufacturing capacities in the large vans segment for the Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall brands will enable Groupe PSA to better supply customers by the end of 2021 and will provide manufacturing visibility for more than a decade in Gliwice.
"The US economy and our core business are strong, so we can expand our commitment to US manufacturing and Ohio and create job opportunities for our employees," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. "We also expect to bring more jobs to the US over time in support of the expected provisions of the USMCA."
Manufacturing investments in Ohio totaling approximately $700 million will help expand GM's operations in Toledo, Parma and Moraine and create approximately 450 new manufacturing jobs.
The DMAX plant in Moraine is expanding diesel engine production for GM's all-new heavy-duty pickups, which go on sale later this year. Toledo Transmission will expand production of the company's all-new 10-speed automatic transmission for trucks and SUVs. The Parma Metal Centre will expand production of stamped parts and deploy laser cell welding technology.
GM is in discussions to sell the company's Lordstown Complex in Lordstown, Ohio, to Workhorse Group, Inc. and an affiliated, newly formed entity that could bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the Mahoning Valley. Workhorse is a Cincinnati-based manufacturer of battery electric vehicles.
GM has announced the creation of more than 2,000 new jobs so far in 2019 with 450 new jobs at GM sites in Ohio, 1,000 new jobs at Flint Assembly to support production of the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups, 400 new jobs to support the launch of a second Chevrolet battery-electric vehicle at Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Michigan and 400 jobs coming later this year to support a second production shift at Bowling Green Assembly in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
A quarter of a century after its birth, demand is unabated for the Audi A4, now in its fifth generation. With 344,586 units sold in 2018, the A4 is the world’s most popular model of the Four Rings. Approximately every fifth Audi delivered worldwide today comes from this series.
The Audi A4 set new standards when it went into production in 1994 as the successor to the Audi 80 series. With its elegance, sportiness and comfort, it quickly impressed customers all over the world. The model became a bestseller in its first full year of production in 1995, when more than 272,052 units drove off the production line. And today, the model continues to launch highlights in its class with numerous driver‑assistance systems.
“For a quarter of a century now, the Audi A4 has symbolised the Four Rings like no other model. It stands for cutting‑edge technology in the premium mid‑range, as well as for innovative production technologies at the highest level,” said Albert Mayer, Plant Director at Audi’s site in Ingolstadt. “The Audi A4 is a key pillar of the Ingolstadt plant in particular. Our employees’ tireless commitment and passion for our brand have been and continue to be the driving force behind the impressive success story of the A4.”
Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Group Labour Council at Audi AG: “The A4 is a symbol of the Audi brand’s success. Our colleagues have made this possible over the past 25 years with a lot of dedication and commitment. This is a great achievement of which we members of the Works Council are very proud, and upon which I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”
Demand for the Audi A4 is unabated in what is now (since 2015) the fifth generation. Customers from China, Germany and the United States, most frequently decide on an Audi of the A4 series. In 2018, about one in five cars delivered by Audi in the German market came from this series. The most popular Audi model in China is the long‑wheelbase A4, which is produced especially for the Chinese market.
With a total production to date of more than 7.5 million units the A4 is the most successful Audi model of all time. Since the launch of the fourth A4 generation in 2007, Audi’s two main plants in Germany – Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm – have shared production of the A4 via the so‑called production turntable system. Audi manufactures the model also in Asia for the local markets there: in Changchun, China, and in Aurangabad, India.
In one of the world’s most prominent automotive engineering environments, Polestar’s UK engineering operation will initially employ around 60 engineers, bringing a wealth of specialised skills to the company that will specifically support the development of future Polestar cars, beyond Polestar 3. These engineers have already been involved in preliminary development work for Polestar, and will now be fully immersed into future Polestar car projects as part of the global Polestar engineering network.
"Investing in the automotive engineering talent that the UK has to offer will strengthen our capabilities,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer at Polestar. “The passion and dedication of these great engineers fit the Polestar spirit perfectly and will allow us to create some really awesome cars!”
Hans Pehrson, responsible for Research and Development at Polestar, commented: “Polestar’s role as a technology spearhead requires new and developing skills in low-volume, light-weight, multi-material performance car engineering, and the new UK operation will allow us to take the next steps towards our future cars.”
“The team that will kick start the new UK R&D subsidiary is already well-versed in Polestar engineering philosophy, and we will expand the initial team further during the course of 2019. These engineers will be a great complement to our existing R&D team based in Sweden, and other supporting teams around the world,” he added.
Registrations by private motorists fell last month, down 10.3%, after a rise of more than 26% in April 2018. Fleet demand, meanwhile, remained stable, growing 2.9%, with these businesses registering 2,498 more cars than in April 2018.
Declines were recorded across most vehicle segments, with registrations of popular supermini and small family cars falling most significantly, down 14.1% and 10.6%. Demand for lower volume luxury saloons and sports cars rose while the dual purpose segment also grew, by 18.4% to 40,580 units. These vehicles are now the third most popular body type, with registrations tripling since 2012.
Diesel registrations fell again, but the pace of decline slowed significantly, down 9.4%. Petrol demand also dropped, by 3.0%. Overall, alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations grew by 12.7%, with 10,254 leaving showrooms. Petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up 31.1% to 6,810 units. Battery electric cars also recorded a strong uplift, from 929 to 1,517 units, which still only represents 0.9% of the market.
Meanwhile, zero emission-capable plug-in hybrids experienced a significant decline, down 34.4% in April and 20.4% year-to-date – evidence of the consequences of prematurely removing upfront purchase incentives before the market is ready.
Manufacturers are investing heavily to bring ultra-low and zero emission cars to market, with some 40 plug-in models now available in showrooms, and over 20 more expected to arrive in 2019. However, if this still emerging sector is to reach meaningful levels, measures and incentives that build business and consumer confidence will be vital.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While it’s great to see buyers respond to the growing range of pure electric cars on offer, they still only represent a tiny fraction of the market and are just one of a number of technologies that will help us on the road to zero. Industry is working hard to deliver on this shared ambition, providing ever cleaner cars to suit every need. We need policies that help get the latest, cleanest vehicles on the road more quickly and support market transition for all drivers. This includes investment in infrastructure and long term incentives to make new technologies as affordable as possible.”
Commenting on the first production roll-out, Mr S S Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. said, “This is a proud moment for us at Hyundai. On this day 23 years ago, Hyundai entered India with a promise to make cars that will set new benchmarks in the industry. And today we are set to create history again with the Global First – roll out of Venue, which will usher the future of connected mobility in India.”
“Our future-ready plant is excellently equipped with smart engineering technology to create a Game Changer SUV, the Hyundai Venue for our customers. Venue, with its striking looks and connected technology, will definitely appeal to the new generation customers eagerly waiting for a product that mirrors their lifestyle,” he added.
Hyundai Venue is a true expression of Hyundai’s manufacturing excellence. The Hyundai Mega Manufacturing Plant with its advanced Manufacturing 4.0 production equipped with over 590 - Generation 4 robots, quality and testing capabilities along with flexible engine plants are completely equipped for the mass production of India’s First Connected SUV - Hyundai Venue.
Hyundai Venue has been tested and evaluated at the most demanding conditions across the length and breadth of India to ensure it exceeds customers’ expectations in drivability and performance. With its stunning design and styling and the most advanced Blue Link connected technology with India-specific features, the Hyundai Venue is poised to redefine the compact SUV segment in India.
Hyundai's new offering willbe manufactured at the Sriperumbudur manufacturing facility, just outside of Chennai, in Southern India.
Hector, MG’s first car in India, has gone into commercial production after one million kilometres of testing in diverse road and climatic conditions across India. With extensive localisation, more than 300+ India specific changes have been carried out in the MG Hector to suit the customer preferences and road conditions.
MG Motor India will begin shipments of the Hector SUV within the next few weeks to its widespread network of 65 showrooms across 50 cities. The Hector SUV will make its global debut on 15th May and pre-orders will begin in the month of June.
“We are proud to be rolling out the first made in India, feature-rich internet car, the MG Hector, from our all-new assembly line in Gujarat. Adopting the highest quality global manufacturing standards, the Hector has been specially customised to suit Indian customer preferences and road conditions. The MG Hector is poised to become a new benchmark in SUVs,” said Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motor India.
MG India has so far invested INR22 billion ($308 million) in its Gujarat manufacturing plant to roll out the MG Hector. The company has set up new assembly line, new press shop, new body shop, new parts distribution centre, testing track and a state-of-the-art training facility in the plant, within a short span of 18 months.
MG’s Halol plant currently has a production capacity of 80,000 units per annum and has the provision to increase the capacity going forward depending upon the requirement. The plant operates conforming to world-class manufacturing standards following production parameters beyond the current norm, with the vehicles undergoing various stringent quality tests. Further underlining its commitment to creating products specifically for India, the carmaker had also set up a captive vendor park at its plant.
The carmaker’s technologically advanced plant in Gujarat deploys advanced robotic spot welding, robotic roller hemming and robotic brazing facilities to achieve superior weld quality and dimensional consistency. The paint shop uses robotic application at all stages of coating to achieve superior paint finish quality and colour harmony. The new assembly line operates with the help of advanced Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) for various assembly processes. A first in industry, touchscreen pads are available at each assembly work station, enabling MG employees to connect and alert the system centrally to avoid errors, following the “first time right build” philosophy.
The MG Hector comes equipped with cutting-edge technology and is designed to deliver best-in-class performance and features. The next-gen iSMART technology promises to deliver safe, connected, and fun experiences to customers as India’s first internet car, with a segment-best 10.4-inch touchscreen. The SUV comes with revolutionary Over the Air (OTA) technology, allowing customers to update software, features, themes, and infotainment content, when the updates are available.
With a focus on four key organisational pillars – innovation, safety, experiences and diversity; the carmaker has built a strong foundation for its future operations. The company has recently invested INR1.5 billion ($21 million) towards the purchase of its brand-new corporate office in Gurgaon.
With an expected investment of RMB10 billion ($1.5 billion), BYD's new manufacturing facility in eastern China is on track to become capable of churning out 400,000 complete vehicles and delivering a production value of over RMB50 billion ($7.5 billion) annually once completed.
The new facility will manufacture BYD's Dynasty series and "e" product series (pure electric vehicles ranging from A00-class to C-class, spread across to ten models). The models feature an energy consumption of 17.3-17.9 KWh per kilometre and a driving range of 450-600 kilometres. The Chinese carmaker also plans to eventually set up a research and development centre in Changzhou.
Wang Quan, secretary of Changzhou Municipal Committee of CPC, said during his meeting with Wang Chuanfu, Founder and Chairman of BYD, that establishment of the new facility is in line with the ongoing trends of the EV sector, as well as with BYD's growth strategy and Changzhou's planning for its next stage of development.
The win-win collaboration between BYD and the city of Changzhou brings together the carmaker's strengths in branding, technologies and market presence with Changzhou's advantages in industrial development, talent and strategic location, creating a synergy that is expected to bode well for the development of China's EV sector in terms of technological innovation and industrial competitiveness as well as the country's roadmap towards becoming a leading provider of medium and high-end renewable energy products worldwide.
The BYD Chairman added that the new facility represents an important milestone for both Changzhou and BYD while the project will facilitate both parties' efforts in gaining a strong footprint in a new wave of industrial reform.
The high Mercedes-Benz production standards therefore ensure top quality across all vehicle models. As a CASE pioneer, the EQC 400 4MATIC offers extensive standard equipment and attractive services.
"With the Mercedes-Benz EQC, we are entering a new era of mobility. It is part of the growing family of all-electric vehicles at Mercedes-Benz and combines brand-defining features such as quality, safety and comfort. We offer our customers progressive design and unique ride comfort – and this with a range absolutely suitable for everyday use," stated Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales.
With its seamless, clean design and colour highlights typical of the brand, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is a pioneer for an avant-garde electric look while representing the design idiom of Progressive Luxury. In combination with the extensive services and a range of 445 - 471 km (NEDC), it makes electric mobility convenient and suitable for everyday use.
With its effortlessly superior driving impression, high level of acoustic comfort and exciting driving dynamics, the EQC displays all the brand's hallmark attributes. Prices for the Mercedes-Benz EQC start at €71,281 ($79,122) for the already generously equipped base version. Its net basic price of less than €60,000 ($66,600) makes it eligible for an environmental bonus in Germany – regardless of individual equipment.
The first EQC will roll off the production line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. There it is being produced on the same line as the C-Class Saloon and Estate as well as the GLC and GLC Coupé – digitally, flexibly and sustainably. Production of vehicles with various drive systems can be adapted variably and efficiently in line with market demand. This approach is an ideal way to ensure the best possible use of capacity at the plant, and guarantee high Mercedes-Benz production and quality standards.
Digital solutions such as sophisticated mobile devices, driverless transport systems and the 'paperless factory' assist the assembly team. Production staff are irreplaceable, even in the age of electric mobility. The use of Big Data and artificial intelligence assists with predictive maintenance, for example. This means the fact that the company made investments in maximum flexibility and hi-tech equipment offering trend-setting Industry 4.0 solutions at an early stage is paying off.
"Flexibility and efficiency are decisive pillars of the strategy in our global production network at Mercedes-Benz Cars. Production of the EQC is perfect proof of this. The staff in Bremen have many years of experience in the production of vehicles with a wide range of drive types. We are building on this know-how in the electric age, too. With the start of production of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, we are turning the switch today - for the electric mobility of the future," said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.