As Volkswagen's German workforce grows older and baby boomers start retiring between 2015 and 2020, the company plans to increase the use robots to make up for the shortage of new workers, The Financial Times reported.

Volkswagen plans to use robots for unergonomic and monotonous tasks, while humans would be employed for highly skilled jobs. However, this trend towards increased automation is not expected to lead to higher unemployment in Germany.

Volkswagen board member for human resources Horst Neumann said, "We have the possibility to replace people with robots and nevertheless we can continue to hire the same amount of young employees. Or put the other way: we would not be able to compensate for this outflow of retirees by [hiring] young employees."

Over their life, robots are expected to cost EUR5 (US$6.3) per hour including maintenance and energy costs, while labour charges in Germany amount to EUR40 an hour, and less than EUR10 in China.

"New generations of robots will likely be even cheaper. We must make use of this cost advantage," Neumann added.

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