Volkswagen To Suspend Production In Europe Over Coronavirus Pandemic

Volkswagen Group, the world’s largest carmaker, will gradually suspend production at its European plants due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on demand, it said in a statement on March 17.

The German automaker said that this would also affect Volkswagen Group Components plants. 

“The spread of Coronavirus in Europe is increasingly harming the demand situation. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply our plants with outsourced parts,” said Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operation Officer of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.

For this reason, the company has decided to run production down in a coordinated way from the end of the late shift on Thursday (March 18), he added. 

“We are convinced that this will also be in the interests of our employees who are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of corona,” said Brandstätter.

The company said that risks in connection with suppliers’ supply chains are also increasing due to the significantly accelerated rate of infection by a Coronavirus and the resulting measures taken by the authorities.

Gunnar Kilian, an HR Board Member of the Volkswagen Group, said that it has also supplemented its comprehensive health protection measures with several other measures.

To protect its employees, the company canteens, self-service shops, cafeterias, bistros, restaurants and catering services will be closed. All meetings will be held by Skype or video, and all major events have been cancelled, it said. 

Special protection applies for employees with special health risks as a result of pre-existing conditions affecting the heart or lungs and employees with weakened immune systems, among others, it said. 

“Furthermore, employees returning to Germany from other countries after March 14 are forbidden with immediate effect from entering the plant sites and other facilities of Volkswagen AG during the incubation period of 14 weekdays,” it added.