VW looks to robots to replace retiring boomers

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 6 Oct, 2014 Updated Mon 6 Oct 2014 16:02 CEST
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Volkswagen hopes to put more robots to work as it says goodbye to its retiring baby boomer employees, the company's chief of human resources wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

In the next 15 years, around 32,000 employees will leave Germany's biggest car maker, Horst Neumann wrote in a guest contribution to the newspaper.

"We now have the possibility to replace more people with robots to support the existing trainees," he wrote, adding that there are not enough young people to replace all those going into retirement in the coming years.

"In the German auto industry, labour costs are more than €40 per hour, eastern European labour costs €11, in China, it's still than less than €10," Neumann wrote.

"A current robotic replacement for assembly work currently costs around €5 an hour. Predictably, next generation robotics will be even cheaper. We have to take make the most of this price advantage."

Experts have been saying for some time that the workforce in the European auto industry has been due for a decline in production.

However, the installation of robots does not mean fewer jobs for young people at the world's second-biggest car manufacturer. More robotics then creates more demand for workers skilled in classic mechanical production as well as software development.

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