Volkswagen extends coronavirus factory shutdown

Volkswagen has extended its coronavirus-related production shutdown by a further five days because of the reduction in car sales and challenges faced by its supply chain.

The car manufacturer says that its German factories for its passenger cars brand, commercial vehicles and component manufacturing will all be affected.

About 80,000 Volkswagen employees that are currently performing ‘short-time working’ will do so for an extra five working days until the end of the night shift of April 19 to 20.

Andreas Tostmann, member of the board for production and logistics at VW said: “The health of our employees has the highest priority. We are making good progress with an extremely comprehensive package of measures for the staged run-up of production. This also includes additional measures as regards hygiene and distances between employees on the production line.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the automotive industry hard, with car manufacturers across the world closing factories to help limit the spread of the virus. With their consumers being told to stay at home in most markets, vehicle sales have also dropped significantly.

Some brands have pivoted their production to build ventilators for health services that can help coronavirus patients in hospital. For example, Seat, Ford, PSA Groupe (which owns Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Vauxhall) and the Mercedes-AMG F1 team have all announced the production of breathing aids.