Vw, Porsche proceed with sharing manufacturing facilities despite stalled merger

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 25, 2012

Volkswagen and Porsche will be able to save hundreds of millions of euros annually as they proceed with sharing manufacturing facilities. The two companies are bent on completing their integration. They had planned to merge nearly three ago but because of unresolved tax and legal issues, the focus had moved to operational integration.

In September, Porsche will start to produce its revamped Boxster roadster at a VW factory in Osnabrueck, Germany. A new version of the hardtop Cayman will arrive at the plant next year.

These would be the first batch of Porsche vehicles that would be entirely assembled at VW. It was last autumn that Porsche began to send engineers to Osnabrueck from its traditional Zuffenhausen base in Stuttgart in order to conduct training on how to build luxury vehicles.

Porsche is famous for its lean production techniques that companies such as aviation group Deutsche Lufthansa and steelmaker ThyssenKrupp hope to follow.

The Osnabrueck plant will produce Porsche models that cannot be accommodated by the Zuffenhausen plant because of capacity difficulties.

When interviewed by Reuters, Porsche sales chief Bernhard Maier said that the rising demand for the overhauled 911, which has the same assembly line as the Boxster and Cayman, is resulting to bottlenecks at Porsche's main plant, where capacity is restricted to between 35,000 and 40,000 vehicles a year.

Maier said that the company is hitting its capacity limits so an expansion plan has become urgent. VW doesn’t believe that operational integration is limited to managing overflow output of Boxster and Cayman models.

VW’s plants in Bratislava and Hanover already build the bodies for two of Porsche’s top-selling vehicles, the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan. The Cayenne shares its technology platform with VW Touareg and Audi Q7. Meanwhile, Porsche's next model, the Macan compact SUV (which will be sold from 2014), will be build on the underbody that’s also used on the Audi Q5.

Topics: vw, porsche

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