Volkswagen starts shutting down production in Europe in face of coronavirus
Volkswagen Group will suspend production this week at plants in Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain and is preparing to shut down the rest of its factories across Europe due to the spread of coronavirus, its CEO said on Tuesday.
The German carmaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda brands, said the uncertainty about the fallout from the pandemic meant it was impossible to give any forecasts for its performance this year, Reuters reads.
Volkswagen’s powerful works council has concluded it’s not possible for workers at its plants to maintain a safe distance from one another to prevent contagion and recommended a suspension of production from Friday.
“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,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on Tuesday.
Production will be halted at VW’s Spanish plants, in Setubal in Portugal, Bratislava in Slovakia and at the Lamborghini and Ducati plants in Italy before the end of this week, Diess said.
Most of its other German and European factories will prepare to suspend production, probably for two to three weeks, VW said.
“2020 will be a very difficult year. The corona pandemic presents us with unknown operational and financial challenges. At the same time, there are concerns about sustained economic impacts,” Diess said.