Volkswagen resumes production at Wolfsburg plant, Europe’s largest auto factory

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in Wolfsburg starts producing vehicles again at 6.30 a.m. 27th April. First, the Golf production starts up again in one shift – with reduced capacity and slower cycle times.

Around 8,000 employees return to production on this day. Production of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Touran and SEAT Tarraco models will also begin on Wednesday. In the following week, production in multi-shift operation should continue to ramp up. At the same time, around 2,600 suppliers, a large number of them from Germany, started production for Volkswagen’s main plant again. The measures to protect the workforce have been significantly expanded.

“The gradual resumption of production is an important sign for the workforce, trade, suppliers and the economy as a whole. However, this is only a first step in dealing with the crisis. The economy needs additional impulses so that demand in Germany and all of Europe can pick up again and production can gradually increase the number of units, ”said Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil said: “I am very pleased that Volkswagen is ramping up production step by step. In an exemplary manner, the health protection of employees is placed in the foreground. The works council and the board have worked together to develop a concept that is second to none. Next Wednesday I will exchange ideas with the prime ministers of the automobile countries of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg on how to quickly boost automotive sales. If we succeed in creating an incentive to buy that also focuses on ecological aspects, it would be good for employment, good for the economy and good for the climate.”

Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the General and Group Works Councils, emphasized: “For the works council, the health of colleagues is the top priority when it comes to restarting. To this end, we have concluded a general works agreement with around 100 protective measures with which Volkswagen has set standards in German industry. Now it is a matter of the company supervisors giving all employees comprehensive information about the prescribed precautionary measures before starting work. All colleagues need to know how best to protect themselves and others. This also shows that we take care of each other in the VW workforce.”

Around 1,400 vehicles are to be built in the Wolfsburg plant by the end of the first week of production. In the following week, production will then be ramped up to more than 6,000 vehicles in multi-shift operation. This corresponds to around 40 percent of production before the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The vehicles can now also roll back to customers via the dealers – around 70 percent of the car dealerships have already reopened. After Zwickau, Wolfsburg is the second vehicle plant at Volkswagen’s German locations, which will restart production after the interruption in mid-March. On Monday a week ago, production had already started in Bratislava, Slovakia. The start-up takes place in accordance with the current availability of parts resulting from the circumstances of the continuing corona pandemic.

Andreas Tostmann, Board Member for Logistics and Production at the Volkswagen brand, emphasized: “The team is returning to the most secure jobs. The company and the works council have agreed a 100-point plan for this. ”Among other things, this provides for consistent distance and hygiene rules: Employees are required to measure their body temperature at home every morning and to go through a health checklist before they are ready to go in work. Walkways in the factory are redirected to avoid encounters, and there are distance markings on the floor in many places for walks and meetings. Where the minimum distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained, a mask is mandatory. Mobile plexiglass partitions are often used.

“In many cases, material is no longer handed over from employee to employee, but is instead stored. The teams are given additional time to clean their tools. The cleaning intervals of the washrooms and team rooms are increased; several hundred additional hand-washing facilities have been installed in the plant alone. The company is converting meeting rooms to office workplaces, the flextime in the offices has been expanded and, if possible, work continues in the home office. For maximum information and awareness, more than 8,000 posters hang in the Wolfsburg plant alone, each employee also has an extensive booklet with them explaining behavioral measures. Several hundred additional hand washing opportunities were installed in the factory alone.”

Volkswagen has shared this 100-point plan with its more than 40,000 suppliers and logistics partners worldwide. During normal operation, the Wolfsburg plant is supplied with around 21,000 different parts every day from around 2,600 suppliers from 71 countries – a large proportion of them from Germany – which come to the plant on around 2,000 trucks and 100 rail wagons. Around 180 double-decker wagons and around 185 car transporters leave the factory every day.

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