Volkswagen is suspending all car production for two weeks as supply and demand have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The German car giant said production would be halted from Thursday evening in ‘response to the impending rapid decline in demand on the automotive markets’.
With many customers choosing to stay home and some countries in lockdown, numerous car manufacturers have seen vehicle sales dive.
Volkswagen also said that supply chains were at risk as external companies were affected by the pandemic, and its own staff members were becoming increasingly concerned about the virus’s spread.
Ralf Brandstätter, Volkswagen Passenger Cars chief operation officer, said: “The spread of coronavirus in Europe is increasingly having an adverse impact on the demand situation. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply our plants with outsourced parts.
“For this reason, we have decided to run production down in a coordinated way from the end of the late shift on Thursday. We are convinced that this will also be in the interests of our employees who are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of corona.”
In light of recent government communications and advice regarding COVID-19, we are working with our retailer network to take the appropriate actions to maintain the safety of our staff and customers. For more information, please visit: https://t.co/EwoxGPbPXU
— Volkswagen UK (@UKVolkswagen) March 17, 2020
Gunnar Kilian, Volkswagen Group board member, added: “We have also supplemented our comprehensive health protection measures with a number of other measures. We understand the concerns of our employees. Since the beginning of the corona epidemic in China, we have consistently operated on the basis of the principle that health is our top priority. Our employees can rely on that.”
Other measures implemented by the firm to halt the spread of coronavirus include shutting canteens and other areas where staff congregate, holding meetings via video conferencing, and banning staff who’ve travelled to affected areas from entering VW sites for 14 weekdays.
The Covid-19 outbreak has had a major effect on the car market. Ford announced yesterday that it was halting production indefinitely, Nissan has closed its factory in Sunderland and Vauxhall is closing both its UK factories as part of its parent company PSA Group’s decision to close all European plants.