On course for a million
Since starting production of the Macan, the Porsche factory in Leipzig has really stepped up a gear.
The graceful dance of the 387 yellow robots extends as far as the eye can see. They twirl and spin on a 35,000-square-metre stage, and everywhere you look gleaming sheets of metal are being manoeuvred, moulded and combined. Welding sparks spit and fly, a new section is formed and the contours of a car gradually emerge, piece by piece. “Macan” is the Indonesian word for tiger and also the name of a compact utility vehicle manufactured in Leipzig by Porsche. In Leipzig, “highly qualified employees manufacture exceedingly complex products to Porsche’s exceptional quality standards,” says Dr Oliver Blume, the member of the Porsche Executive Board responsible for production. The Swabian sports car manufacturer’s fifth series marks yet another new beginning for the Saxony-based car plant. The first Porsche utility vehicle rolled off the assembly line here in 2002, followed by the first luxury four-door grand touring saloon in 2009. Now the Macan has become the first vehicle to be produced in the newly extended factory.
Commitment to Leipzig as a manufacturing location
When the decision was taken in March 2011 to produce a new compact SUV, Porsche also announced the expansion of the Leipzig factory to create a full-blown assembly plant. Some EUR 500 million was invested in adding a new body shop and paint shop, plus trebling production space to some 250,000 square metres. This level of investment clearly demonstrates the importance of the Leipzig plant for Porsche. The Chairman of the Porsche Executive Board, Matthias Müller, believes the company’s commitment to Leipzig also underlines its belief in Germany as a production location. “‘Made in Germany’ is a key criterion for Porsche and for our customers all over the world,” he says.
Eco-power and petrol in the blood
When upgrading the production facility, the planners placed particular emphasis on the use of renewable energy. In the extended factory, waste heat produced by a neighbouring biomass power plant is used to heat the paint shop, while a photovoltaic system on the roof supplies around 800,000 kilowatt hours of solar power per year.
In addition to the technical challenges, another problem was solved by choosing Leipzig. Some 1,500 additional employees were required for the expanded plant and the location really came into its own once again. “We wanted people with petrol in their blood and we found them here,” says Blume. When the Macan production line is running at full capacity, up to 50,000 vehicles will leave the plant each year. Add this number to the 700,000 Porsche vehicles manufactured here up to the end of 2013 and it is only a matter of time until the millionth “Saxon Porsche” rolls off the assembly line.