Volkswagen plans second Wolfsburg factory to build Trinity EV
11 November 2021 - autocar
Dedicated facility for EV flagship is aimed at providing VW with the production capacity to rival Tesla
Volkswagen plans to construct a new factory near its Wolfsburg headquarters in Germany, the company has revealed.
The second Wolfsburg plant is set to produce Volkswagen’s upcoming Trinity saloon - the radical EV flagship model set for launch in 2026 – and is aimed at matching the manufacturing efficiency of Tesla’s new gigafactory currently under the final stages of construction in Gruenheide, Germany.
Volkswagen has indicated it would be cheaper to construct the new factory than to retrofit its existing Wolfsburg site to produce electric vehicles with similar levels of efficiency to Tesla.
No cost estimate for the new plant has been revealed, although Volkswagen says it is aiming for a production time of 10 hours per car for the Trinity.
The planned site, which has been endorsed by the Volkswagen works council but has yet to gain approval from the German car maker’s supervisory board, is envisioned to produce up to 250,000 cars per year. This is in addition to the 500,000-unit annual capacity of Volkswagen’s existing Wolfsburg site.
“We are in talks with the works council,” said Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, “but the economic conditions have to be created.”
A formal announcement outlining further details on the exact site of the new factory is expected in December.
“We’re planning greenfield construction: efficient and without limitations by existing structures,” said Brandstätter in a statement to media representatives.
Tesla has announced its new German gigafactory factory will boast an annual output of up to 500,000 cars per year.
The Trinity is described by Volkswagen as “a highly efficient flat-seat concept with an iconic design”. It is planned to be one of the first Volkswagen models to be based on the company’s new SSP (Scalable Systems Platform). It is claimed to possess greater modularity than Volkswagen's existing MEB structure, as well as providing the basis for level four autonomous driving technology.
The news has emerged amid uncertainty over leadership of the VW Group. CEO Herbert Diess has sparked tension with union representatives in recent weeks after his pledge to match Tesla for production efficiency was perceived as an indication that job cuts were incoming. He has since moved to deny these claims, but Reuters reports VW's mediation council will meet soon to discuss his future at the firm.
Diess is contracted to serve as CEO until 2025, but Reuters has identified Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, Volkswagen boss Ralf Brandstätter and Audi's Markus Duesmann – among others – as potential replacements, should Diess step down.