Engine casting at opening of Volkswagen enine plant in Silao, MexicoEnlarge Photo
The Silao plant is currently designated a LEED Gold building, but the company is working toward the highest level of certification for environmental sustainability: the LEED Platinum status. Among other green building techniques, the engine factory is lit largely with natural light that comes through heat-block skylights (during the daytime), and rainwater is gathered and held in a small lake to be used in the plant’s bathrooms.
The plant opening was attended by many dignitaries, headlined by Enrique Pena Nieto, the newly elected president of Mexico. He shared the stage with Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG, as well as Andreas Hinrichs, CEO of Volkswagen de Mexico, and the governor of Guanajuato state, Miguel Marquez.
The biggest applause from the audience—not only media and invited dignitaries, but the hundreds of new Volkswagen employees at the plant—was reserved for Andreas Klinge, the plant manager.
He was the man who had brought the Silao engine plant to life, apparently in a way that endeared him to his employees. While VW officials would not comment on the prevailing wages at the plant, informal conversations with employees indicate that technicians were paid roughly $150 per week.
Volkswagen provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-hand report.