Porsche employees fought to have Taycan production in Zuffenhausen

Employees funded 25% of the 700 million euro investment needed to open the Porsche Taycan factory.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
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Porsche Taycan Production

Porsche Taycan production officially kicked off on Monday.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The very first customer-ready Porsche Taycan rolled off the production line in Stuttgart, Germany on Monday, following the high-performance electric vehicle's big debut last week. The Taycan has its very own factory in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart. But as it turns out, that wasn't always the plan.

"Zuffenhausen was not the preferred location," Werner Weresch, chairman of the plant's works council, said during the factory's opening ceremonies on Monday. "It's all about finance," Porsche's spokesperson for human resources, Matthias Rauter, later continued. "It would be much more easier to build [the factory] somewhere in the middle of nowhere."

But Porsche's factory workers and management board wanted to bring Taycan production to Zuffenhausen. This plant is where Porsche builds its iconic 911. This plant is where the 356, Porsche's first sports car, was produced in 1950. The employees insisted, "The Taycan has to be built in Zuffenhausen, at the heart of Porsche," Rauter said.

Porsche Taycan Production

Taycans line up for final inspection at Porsche's Zuffenhausen factory.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

So the employees put their money where their mouths are. The union workers agreed to give up 0.25% of all their scheduled wage increases between 2017 and 2025, under the condition that it eventually be paid back. What's more, certain Stuttgart-based management and board members agreed to give up 0.5% of their scheduled raises, with no guarantee that they'd see that money again.

"It was the idea of the works council," Rauter said. The idea was that, "At the end, they are in a better position than before."

Rauter said that, starting in 2021 and ending in 2030, employees who participate in this program will receive annual paybacks of 760 euros. In all, the program is designed to give the workers all of their money back, with compound interest of 0.03%. After the money is paid back, when the employees are eligible for raises again, those increases "will be based on the assumption they had those pay raises before," another Porsche spokesperson confirmed.

In all, Porsche says 25,000 employees initially opted in for this funding, which resulted in 25% of the 700 million euro investment needed to open the new Zuffenhausen facility. That number has grown to nearly 34,000 workers today.

2020 Porsche Taycan is a Tesla Model S fighter with up to 750 horsepower

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"Anything else than having the Taycan [in Zuffenhausen] would have been a big mistake," Albrecht Reimold, member of Porsche's executive board for production and logistics, said at the factory's opening on Monday.

The Taycan is Porsche's first fully electric vehicle, and it delivers serious performance. Initially available in Turbo and Turbo S variants, the Taycan is powered by a 93.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, producing 670 horsepower in Turbo guide and 750 horsepower if you opt for Turbo S. The Taycan is available to order now, with prices starting at $150,900 for the Turbo and $185,000 for the Turbo S.

The 2020 Taycan is just one part of a 6 billion euro investment made by Porsche to spearhead electric mobility initiatives through 2022.

Oh, and a final word from Winfried Kretschmann, minister-president of Baden-Württemberg (the state where Stuttgart is located), who spoke at the Taycan's factory opening on Monday: "To Elon Musk, news from Baden-Württemberg: With green ideas, you can be in the black, not the red."

Watch this: 2020 Porsche Taycan is ready to tackle Tesla