VW CEO warns factory closures may drag on for weeks

Automotive Industry

Source: Automotive News Europe, 2020-03-22

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess  warned that the coronavirus crisis may force the company to keep its factories shut for longer than initially planned.

“Most of our factories are closing for two weeks, in some regions for three. It is likely that these measures will last," Diess said in a Linkedin post on Saturday 21 March.

The company's brands include VW, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda.

"The spreading of the virus will not have come to a standstill in several weeks from now. So that we need to be ready, to live with this threat for a long time - until effective medicines or a vaccination are available,” Diess said.

VW is taking measures to secure liquidity, its supply chains, and to continue with strategic projects such as the launch of the company's ID3 electric car and the supply of battery cells, Diess also said.

VW has suspended production at factories across Europe.

On Monday 23 March, VW's Slovakian unit said it will extend the shutdown of its plants in Bratislava, Martin and Stupava until April 5. The plants will remain closed longer because of a continuing low demand and coordination of resuming the production and preventing the spread of the coronavirus with other plants in the VW Group, a VW Slovakia spokeswoman said.

VW suspended production in Slovakia on 17 March, initially for two weeks.

VW has said that uncertainty about the impact of the virus meant it was impossible to give forecasts for this year. VW also warned of a steep profit decline in the three months to March.

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