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Volkswagen Restarts Production in Germany; Zwickau Plant the First to Reopen

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The Volkswagen Group is taking the first steps to resuming operations at its plants in Germany. The company’s first plant to reopen is the Zwickau assembly plant, where the new ID.3 electric model is produced.

In a statement released by the automaker, Volkswagen brand board member Thomas Ulbrich, stated the obvious, which is that “the ID.3 is one of the key vehicle projects for Volkswagen.” Not surprising to see it go to the front of the line as the company slowly ramps up production again.

Others won’t be far behind, however. The same plant will also start building the Golf wagon version starting next week. The factory will initially operate at reduced capacity, with a goal of 50 units produced daily (about one-third of what usually comes out of the plant every day). The plant has been idle since mid-March.

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Vehicle production at a Volkswagen plant in Germany
Photo: Volkswagen
Vehicle production at a Volkswagen plant in Germany

Among the new safety measures in place, returning workers will have to wear protective masks covering their faces and noses when they are working within 1.5 metres of one another. They will also have their temperatures measured every day prior to starting work.

Volkswagen has also boosted its protocol for cleaning equipment and work stations, and altered the pace at which work shifts succeed one another to reduce contact between workers. Said Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the Works Council representing plant workers, "With about 100 measures, we are keeping the risk of infection at Volkswagen as low as possible."

Volkswagen has already resumed operations at 32 of its 33 plants in China. The company says it plans to reopen more factories starting next week, including plants in Portugal, Spain and Russia. It adds that its new safety protocols have been shared with its suppliers.

The automotive giant announced its intention to reopen its U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee beginning on May 3, albeit also at reduced capacity. That factory has been idle since March 21.

Workers wearing masks at Volkswagen in Germany
Photo: Volkswagen
Workers wearing masks at Volkswagen in Germany