The Chinese automaker is sticking to personnel planning despite declining sales in the corona crisis. A new office complex for up to 350 employees is being built in the Airport Garden.
Since the start of the corona pandemic in Germany, companies have registered short-time work for more than ten million people. Not so the Chinese carmaker Geely, who runs a development and research center in Raunheim. This year, 50 to 60 engineers are to be hired at the site, Pia Kramer from Human Resources Management said in an interview with a newspaper.
This does not correspond to the general trend in the automotive industry, says Frank Klaas, Head of Corporate Communication. The plan for new appointments will not be reduced. The company is committed to employing up to 300 people next year. Eight employees were hired in April and six in May. Currently, 110 people are employed at the location in Prime Parc, says Kramer. The limit was 210 employees because of the space available. With the new office complex, which is being built in the Airport Garden business park on the cable-stayed bridge and is due to be completed in summer or autumn 2021 at the latest, the jobs at the globally active company would even rise to 350.
Geely doesn’t do short-time work in Raunheim, says Klaas. The location is busy, rather understaffed. Responding to the objection that Raunheim is not a production but a development location, he replied that Geely was nevertheless dependent on successful work in development and research. “We have to deliver results, products have to be brought onto the market,” says Klaas.
The employees have been in the home office since the end of February. The employer gave masks and disinfectants to the employees very early on, Kramer describes the safety measures. Business trips were also canceled early, especially since many had targeted China. In the Middle Kingdom, production stopped at the seven locations for about two months. In the meantime, the workforce is back on board 100 percent. At Geely in China, the administration staff also worked from home, which is not as common in the People’s Republic as in Europe, reports Kramer.
The ongoing economic downturn, however, does not leave Geely without a trace, admits Klaas. He speaks of slump in sales in the Chinese market. According to the annual report, total sales volume declined by 34 percent from January to April 2020 compared to the previous year. So far, only 22 percent of the full-year sales target has been achieved. But the market is slowly recovering: Klaas claims that sales in April increased by 44 percent compared to March. That is why he speaks of a “comeback” of a company with its brands. The sale of the products does not start again with its old strength, but Geely has staying power, says Klaas. The company was able to keep its budget. This applies to the Raunheim location,
The corona crisis, however, has delayed the schedule for the construction of the new building a bit, says Stefan Kammerer, head of corporate processes. The reason is the safety regulations to prevent infections. “There may not be as many construction workers on the site as usual at the same time,” he explains. However, there are no bottlenecks in the materials.
Two oval buildings with an office area of 5500 square meters are being built on the approximately 20,000 square meter site. The shell of one of the two five-story buildings has already been completed; the second is currently being worked on on the fourth floor. Klaas thanks the city for the good cooperation. Geely stands for green, environmentally conscious mobility. The city has cleared a parking area for the employees in the commercial area so that they do not have to search for parking spaces in the city area. The non-profit foundation of Geely’s founder, Li Shu Fu, thanked the city with two deliveries of protective equipment against the corona infection, said Klaas.