Creative ways of stretching space
“The heart of Porsche beats in Zuffenhausen,” says Reiner Luth, head planner for the factory project. Series production continues—without any interruptions or delays—right next to the buildings under construction. Luth draws a medical analogy to describe the work that’ll enable the Taycan to roll from Zuffenhausen’s production lines. “We’re basically doing open-heart surgery,” he says. Needless to say, this “procedure” poses a number of challenges.
The timetable alone is ambitious. In late 2015 Porsche made the decision to produce the Taycan at its headquarters. The clock has been ticking ever since, with series production scheduled to start in 2019. But that’s not the only challenge. “The space here is already densely packed,” explains Jürgen King, head of central construction management. He’s coordinating the project for Porsche. “For us to do the construction work, five thousand employees had to move—in about half a year.”
Porsche’s headquarters is bordered on all sides. It directly adjoins residential areas, property owned by other companies, train tracks, and streets. For example, a major four-lane street separates the assembly line from the new paint shop and the Taycan body shop. These close quarters call for ingenuity. When adding new facilities to the site in the past, Porsche built vertically—and is doing the same thing now. Production of the new electric Porsche will take place on four levels of the new assembly and logistics hall and the body shop. The assembly process will proceed from top to bottom, moving down to the ground floor where the new sports cars will roll from the hall following their final inspections. The technical systems that control all of the production processes are housed in the cellar. The result is a logistical masterpiece nearly unprecedented in the automotive sector.
Looking out at the expansion work, Luth speaks of a “gigantic challenge.” And King adds: “Given these framework conditions, what we have is not only the biggest but also the fastest-moving construction site in Porsche’s history.” The decision to expand the factory at Zuffenhausen has never been questioned. The megaproject will make the company headquarters better equipped for the future. It’s a strong affirmation of the site and its people—and guarantees Taycan customers the quality of being “made in Germany.“