Wednesday 19 March 2014

VW to build Crafter van in Poland

The new Volkswagen Crafter will be manufactured in Poland from a new plant being built in Września, in the Voivodeship Wielkopolska region. The van will enter production in the second half of 2016 as VW decides to 'go it alone'.

With the new plant in the Voivodeship Wielkopolska region of Poland VW will be creating at least 2,300 new jobs.

The decision by VW at long last settles the issue of where and by whom the next Crafter will be built. The decision follows the announcement last year when Daimler AG and Renault-Nissan announced their joint venture in van production, thus ending the Mercedes-Benz link-up with Volkswagen for Crafter production. (see Daimler and Renault in new van tie-up – 18 September 2013)

"With the decision to build the new Crafter in Poland", explains Dr Leif Östling, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for commercial vehicles, "we are setting a new strategic course for our light commercial vehicles."

"The Crafter is the ideal candidate for all growth markets in the world and will further advance Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles along its path as a globally operating manufacturer.

"The new plant in Września will become the second site in Poland for Volkswagen commercial vehicles after Poznań. The smaller, urban delivery vehicle, the Caddy, has been rolling off the assembly line at the plant for more than a decade."

Following the decision for the new site, as of 1 April 2014, Jens Ocksen (53), currently member of the board of management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles with responsibility for production and logistics, will take over responsibility of the Crafter production project. He will become head of the board of management of Volkswagen Poznan Sp.z.o.o., and will remain a member of the management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The plant in Września will benefit from its proximity to VW’s production base in Poznań in every sense - in logistics, suppliers and especially in local experience, according to Ocksen, adding that international and Polish suppliers are to be based near the plant.

"We are also expanding our production network in Poland and are drawing on two decades of successful manufacturing of light commercial vehicles. Whether it's the Caddy or the T5 from Poznań or in future the Crafter from Września - commercial vehicles 'Made by Volkswagen in Poland' are a success story that goes on with the decision today to build the new plant," declared Ocksen.

Ocksen is familiar with van production. He was head of department in vehicle assembly at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, before becoming head of production of the then Volkswagen joint venture in Taipeh (Taiwan).

The new factory premises in Poland will cover some 220 hectares and will consist of a body shop, a paint shop and final assembly. Construction starts at the end of 2014 with vehicle production starting in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

The Volkswagen Poznań plant was founded in 1993 as a joint venture between Volkswagen AG and the "Tarpan" factory in Poznań. In 1996, Poznań became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and was integrated into the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand a year later.

The plant consists of three units with a total area of 739,000 square metres, of which some 90% is occupied by production buildings. At the end of 2013 it had a workforce of over 6,500 employees. Last year it produced 170,900 light commercial vehicles.

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