VW works council demands acceleration of e-cars at main German plant

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa

The Volkswagen works council is calling for a faster path to the production of e-cars in view of the under-utilized main plant in the northern German city of Wolfsburg.

“The difficult situation at the Wolfsburg plant is a clear focus of the ongoing consultations for this year’s planning round,” said the chairperson of the general and group works council Daniela Cavallo, according to a statement on Saturday.

With the conclusion of the planning round, investments in the worldwide VW Group locations would be determined in about six weeks. The decisions extend into the second half of the decade.

Cavallo and her deputy Gerardo Scarpino referred to the tense situation at the main plant. For the second year in a row, the factory is currently facing a historic low in production for the post-war period.

Last year, Wolfsburg produced just under half a million vehicles. This year, also marked by considerable levels of reduced work, the figure is likely to be even lower.

This means that the main plant is not only below the most recent 10-year average of just under 780,000 cars per year, but the capacity utilization commitments agreed with the company are also far from being met.

For example, the executive board had guaranteed a capacity utilization of at least 820,000 vehicles at the main plant for 2020 in the Pact for the Future adopted at the end of 2016. In mid-2018, the target of 1 million vehicles was even envisaged.

“Even adjusted for the current negative factors resulting from the coronavirus and the shortage of semiconductors, we are far from these jointly agreed plans,” Cavallo said.

The workforce is increasingly concerned, she said. “They don’t know such long periods of short-time work,” Cavallo said, adding that this applies not only, but especially, to the employees at the main plant.

The beacon project Trinity, which will bring a completely new VW flagship to the main plant in the middle of the decade, will not turn the tide, she said. Production of Trinity, a high-tech electric vehicle, is scheduled to start in 2026.

“It is already apparent from the development of the figures that Trinity will not be enough to fill the plant,” Scarpino stressed. The location needs a faster path to e-mobility, Cavallo demanded, adding that it must be a “volume-capable model.”


Text and photos: Courtesy © dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH