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Volkswagen reopens its largest factory with new Coronavirus measures

27/04/2020
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Following a complete shutdown in response to the COVID-19 threat, Volkswagen is starting production once again from its largest factory in Wolfsburg Germany. 

Volkswagen's Wolfsburg factory is now opening again
(Image via VW)

The firm say that new hygiene measures have been put in place to ensure worker safety and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The factory will be opened in stages, with around production at around 10%-15% of pre-crisis levels, rising to around 40% next week. 

Around 8,000 workers will resume their jobs at the factory, with around 1,400 cars due to be built this week, with 6,000 expected in a fortnight. These include the VW Golf, Tiguan and Touran models and the SEAT Tarraco.

Volkswagen have made the decision to reopen the Wolfsburg facility in line with an easing in lockdown rules throughout Germany following a fall in infection rates and the country’s success in tracing and containing the coronavirus. 

“The restart of Europe’s biggest car factory after weeks of standstill is an important symbol for our employees, our dealers, suppliers, the German economy and for Europe,” said Andreas Tostmann, board member for VW. 

Around 2,600 suppliers to Volkswagen - most of them based in Germany - have also resumed production.

“Step-by-step resumption of production is an important signal for the workforce, dealerships, suppliers and the wider economy. In terms of managing the crisis, though, this is just the first step. Additional momentum is needed to stimulate demand in Germany and throughout Europe so that production volumes can be successively increased,”
said Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. 

Workers in Volkswagen’s factory have been told to check their temperature and fill in a health checklist before coming in, and have been asked to change into their overalls at home, rather than in factory changing rooms. Markings have been put on the factory floor at 1.5m intervals to help workers socially distance and mouth and nose protection will be provided where this is not possible. Mobile plexiglass partitions have been installed in many areas, materials are to be placed in containers rather than being passed between workers and extra time has been allocated to properly disinfect all tools and surfaces. 

Initially production will begin on a single shift basis with longer cycle times, with a multi-shift operation commencing next week.

“The team is returning to workplaces that provide the maximum level of safety. The company and the Works Council have agreed a 100-point plan to ensure that,” said Tostmann.

Around 70% of Volkswagen dealerships are also thought to have opened in Germany. The firm are also expecting to restart production in Portugal, Spain, Russia, South Africa and South America in the following week, and from the 3rd May in Chattanooga, USA. 

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Volkswagen reopens its largest factory with new Coronavirus measures - Time to read 3 min
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