Volkswagen reopens factory after coronavirus shutdown
- Volkswagen said that around 70% of its dealerships in Germany had re-opened as of last week.
- Extra markings have been put on the factory floor so that workers are better able to adhere to a 1.5 metre social distancing rule, and extra time is provided so that employees can disinfect their tools and surfaces
“The restart of Europe’s biggest car factory after weeks of standstill is an important symbol for our employees, our dealers, suppliers, the German economy and for Europe,” Tostmann said.
(FRANKFURT) - VW the world’s largest carmaker by sales, resumed work at its biggest factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Monday despite a spike in inventory levels across the industry as the coronavirus pandemic stiffled demand.
The decision to get back to work was triggered by a fall in infection rates, Germany eased lockdown rules and carmakers are relying on the country’s ability to trace and contain the coronavirus to put Europe’s largest economy back to work. The prime minister, Angela Merkel has since warned against complacency.
Volkswagen Group, which owns the Skoda, Audi, Bentley, Porsche and Seat brands, is also re-starting production in Portugal, Spain, Russia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, and South America this week.
From May 3 Volkswagen plans to restart production in Chattanooga in the United States.
Who else is picking up the tools in the Automobile Industry?
Its plans mirror moves by rivals Renault, Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler. FiatChrysler will open its Sevel plant in central Italy on Monday, with plans to resume production at a rate of between 70%-80%.
Hyundai Motor Co ramped up domestic production after South Korea got a grip on the coronavirus, only to find that its cars were sitting in U.S. ports because global demand has taken a severe hit due to the pandemic.
Is Volks restarting production at the detriment of the health of its workforce?
In Wolfsburg, around 8,000 workers put the foot to the peddle on Monday, including the VW Golf. The projection this week is that over 1,400 cars will be built, followed by 6,000 cars in a fortnight.
Andreas Tostmann, VW brand’s board member responsible for production, estimates that Production capacity in the Wolfsburg plant will be at around 10%-15%, to begin with, and reach around 40% of pre-crisis levels in the week after.
VW is not complacent with the health of its staff and has taken various steps to safeguard its workforce.
Workers are told to measure their temperature and to get changed into their overalls at home, to prevent crowding in factory changing rooms.
Extra markings have been put on the factory floor so that workers are better able to adhere to a 1.5-metre social distancing rule, and extra time is provided so that employees can disinfect their tools and surfaces,
Volkswagen began producing components in Braunschweig, Kassel, Salzgitter, and Hanover in early April and resumed car manufacturing in Zwickau and Bratislava on April 20 and in Chemnitz on April 23.
Volkswagen is optimistic that consumer behaviour will change and demand will surge as the economy slowly reemerges in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic