Volkswagen prepares to halt production at European plants, likely for a few weeks

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess this week announced plans to suspend production at European factories, over COVID-19 fears. The news will impact a number of prominent makes under the umbrella of the world’s largest car maker by sales.

Plants in Spain, Portugal and Italy will be suspended before the end of this week, with VW’s native Germany and other European countries getting ready to follow suit. Production suspension is expect to last two or three weeks, per Reuters. Of course, these number are always subject to flux, depending on how the remainder of the pandemic plays out.

“Given the present significant deterioration in the sales situation and the heightened uncertainty regarding parts supplies to our plants,” Diess said, “production is to be suspended in the near future at factories operated by Group brands.”

A number of automakers have run into major supply issues, as China was the first country to be hit the outbreak. In many cases, however, production has begun to ramp back up, as authorities in the country had taken dramatic actions to stem the spread of the virus. As of earlier this week, some 31 of the 33 VW factories are up and running in the country.

Production continues at many U.S. plants, though executives are monitoring the situation and looking to adjust production schedules. Other automakers, including Fiat Chrysler, PSA Group and Renault announced the shut down of European plants earlier this week. In addition to issues of employee health and safety, travel restrictions have made it untenable for many factories to continue production.