Interview with Porsche works council Hück
Subscriptions & booklets
Mr. Hück, how is it going the cooperation with the new Porsche boss Michael Macht?
Hück: Very good. We are relaxed, confident, and always look to the future. I have known Mr. Macht not only for the past seven months, when he was in office as CEO, but for 20 years. He is a Porsche through and through.
The Porsche site security agreement expires on July 31, 2010. How are the negotiations for an extension going?
H ück: We want to have a very good one by July 31st at the latest Result come. The negotiations with the board of directors will certainly be the toughest in our history. But it's ok like that. Because as the Swabian says: 'Everything that is given is not smart'.
Why are the negotiations so difficult ?
Hück: Because it is about defining new projects, such as environmentally friendly technologies, down to the last detail, defining the new investments precisely and, if necessary, increasing the workforce. From the growing capital, for example through the high productivity and flexibility of the workforce, we demand a return flow in the form of investments.
What size are we talking about here?
Hück: For the period 2005 to 2010 we were able to agree on an investment of 600 million euros for Zuffenhausen, and I never step into a ring with the intention of losing. We need investments as soon as possible, for example to expand the shell. This is currently the only bottleneck, after we have just invested 200 million euros in a new paint shop and 100 million euros in our new logistics center in Sachsenheim. That was necessary because we want to keep growing.
What significance will Zuffenhausen have as a location in the future?
Hück: Zuffenhausen is the heart from Porsche. And it has to stay that way. We have already produced up to 39,000 units of the 911 here a year. If we want to increase to 150,000 Porsches per year across all model series in the medium term, 50,000 of them have to be built at the main factory in Zuffenhausen.
Hück: No, I think that's unrealistic, because we did in the past financial yearwe only manufactured 28,000 units of the 911.
That means you are bringing the successor to the Boxster /Cayman 2012 back to Zuffenhausen instead of having it built elsewhere?
Hück: In the In the current global economic crisis, we must first concentrate on making full use of Zuffenhausen and all other Porsche locations.
In the past, nobody at Porsche wanted to know anything about an entry-level model. Now a baby Boxster is to be built in the medium term. Why?
Hück: That has not been agreed in any way, but should there be additional models, we will of course fight to ensure that these are also built in Zuffenhausen so that they are sustainable to ensure full utilization of our main plant.
What other topics are still being discussed in the context of the site security agreements?
Hück: We also need money for the expansion our training center. Because we will work to continue to hire at least 100 new trainees every year and to take them over to Porsche AG for an unlimited period. We currently have 355 trainees at Porsche.
What is the current workforce?
Hück: In total, Porsche has around 12,600 employees worldwide, around 8,700 of them at Porsche AG in Germany. Around 5,500 people currently work in Zuffenhausen and Ludwigsburg. In the medium term, we will completely transfer our sales organization from Ludwigsburg to Zuffenhausen; and our Ludwigsburg logistics department moves to the new central warehouse in Sachsenheim.
How will the number of employees develop in the coming years?
Hück: With annual sales of more than 100,000 units, we naturally also need more employees /inside.
How many more?
Hück: 150,000 units are around 30 percent more than currently. If you subtract ten percent from that for both productivity and flexibility increases, that leaves ten percent. That means roughly 800 more employees. Since these 150,000 units cannot all be manufactured in Zuffenhausen, this means an increase of around 400 to 500 employees over the next five years for this location.
Is that realistic? VW boss Martin Winterkorn has published the motto of growing sales without increasing the workforce.
Hück: For Porsche that is realistic. I've already factored in the natural fluctuation, which at Porsche is less than one percent. And in contrast to other corporations, we are not restructuring ourselves through partial retirement; with us, every position that becomes vacant through partial retirement is unlimitedreoccupied - by trainees or unemployed. The increases through productivity and flexibility have also already been taken into account.
What productivity increases do you expect?
Hück: In production we have per year always achieved around six percent. Honest productivity. In other words, here we are not cutting jobs and then distributing the work on fewer shoulders; Rather, we are optimizing the processes in order to achieve more efficiency and an improvement in quality standards with the same team with the same workload on employees.
The production capacity in Zuffenhausen is currently limited to 230 cars per day. What expansion at the headquarters is conceivable?
Hück: Before we went into short-time work, we manufactured 160 vehicles per day. We are currently only producing 140 cars per day. Let's take one step at a time and then we'll look further.
How long will the short-time work last?
Hück: Until the end By March it has already been agreed. We may have to extend it until the end of this fiscal year, that is, until the end of July. The goal for the new financial year must be that we no longer need short-time work. We are working on this, for example with the new engine variants for the Panamera .
Are you also thinking about a production in the USA - together with Audi, as part of the site security agreement?
Hück: No, that doesn't make sense, because we surveyed our customers around the world a few years ago and the result was clear: 'Made in Germany' is the success factor for Porsche, and we should keep it that way.
But you are already producing that Boxster and Cayman at Valmet in Finland and the Cayenne in Bratislava?
Hück: The Cayenne is only pre-assembled in Bratislava and produced in Leipzig. The Boxster is partly produced at Valmet, but also in Zuffenhausen. The customer barely accepts that, but the 911, the heart of the brand, has to be built 100 percent in Zuffenhausen and developed by Porsche itself. If we give that up, we'll have a problem. Because you don't buy a diamond from Aldi either; and Zuffenhausen is practically Porsche's jewelry store.
How is your plant and employment in Leipzig developing?
Hück: Our plant in Leipzig is currently at full capacity. Short-time work is absolutely not an issue here, because the sale of Cayenne and Panamera is highly satisfactory. In the Leipzig site security agreement from 2005, we stipulatedthat we will significantly expand the vertical range of manufacture. We could then build up the number of employees in the long term - and certainly increase it from 600 today to 1,000.