Volkswagen Group will suspend production at a number of its factories in Europe by Friday March 20, 2020, due to the effect of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on its sales and supply chains, reports Reuters.
The auto group owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda brands, and also reported that uncertainty about the effects of the pandemic currently make it impossible to give performance forecasts for 2020.
Volkswagen’s works council is reported to have concluded that it is not possible for workers at its production plants to maintain a safe distance from each other to prevent contagion, and recommended the suspension as a result. Production will be halted at VW’s Spanish, Portuguese, Slovakian and Italian plants before the end of this week.
Herbert Diess, VW Group’s Chief Executive, commented, “Given the present significant deterioration in the sales situation and the heightened uncertainty regarding parts supplies to our plants, production is to be suspended in the near future at factories operated by group brands.”
Most of VW’s other German and European factories will prepare to suspend production, likely for two or three weeks, while Audi noted separately that it would halt output at its plants in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and Mexico. Volkswagen’s factory in Puebla, Mexico, and plants in Brazil and the United States are not yet affected.
Despite the new closures in Europe, VW stated that manufacturing has resumed in China following an extended shutdown due to coronavirus, with the exception of plants in Changsha and Urumqi. The company stated that it plans to boost its Chinese operations.