File picture: Fabian Bimmer / Reuters.
File picture: Fabian Bimmer / Reuters.

VW plans to restart German production this month, SA to follow in May

By Staff Reporters Time of article published Apr 16, 2020

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Braunschweig, Germany - Volkswagen plans to restart vehicle production in Germany at the end of April, while other plants including South Africa's Uitenhage facility are expected to be reopened successively during May.

The factories in the cities of Wolfsburg, Emden and Hanover are set to restart on April 27, sources in the company said on Wednesday, but at greatly reduced capacity.

Before Easter, the company announced that it would restart production again at its supplier plants this week. In some of the component manufacturing plants, an already operating subsidiary company was to be expanded to ensure supply to Chinese production plants.

A total of 1700 employees at locations in Braunschweig, Kassel, Salzgitter, Chemnitz and Hanover are affected.

In production, "processes would be changed so that protection against transmission of the virus was the top priority," General Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh announced ahead of the restart.

When in doubt, less would be produced in preference to "taking a risk somewhere."

"Where the minimum distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained, the colleagues wear masks," he said.

Volkswagen recently extended the closure of its core brand plants in Germany to April 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The plants in Portugal, Spain, Russia and the USA are also due to restart production in the week from April 27. 

Subsequently, in the course of May, production will be resumed successively in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. 

Volkswagen brand COO Ralf Brandstätter said: “With the decisions by the federal and state governments in Germany and the loosening of restrictions in other European states, conditions have been established for the gradual resumption of production. Volkswagen has prepared intensively for these steps over the past three weeks. In addition to developing a comprehensive catalogue of measures for the protection of our employees’ health, we have also forged ahead with the re-establishment of our supply chains.” 

IOL & dpa

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