“The spread of coronavirus in Europe is increasingly having an adverse impact on the demand situation. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply our plants with outsourced parts,” said in a statement Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operation Officer of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
“For this reason, we have decided to run production down in a coordinated way from the end of the late shift on Thursday. We are convinced that this will also be in the interests of our employees who are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of corona.”
In addition to closing production facilities, Volkswagen also announced services in the company's canteens, self-service shops, cafeterias, bistros, restaurants and catering services will be suspended. For the foreseeable future, all meetings will be held online, and employees returning from abroad are asked to avoid entering Volkswagen's building for at least two weeks.
The Germans are not the first to announce such measures. Since the beginning of the week, plants operated by Ferrari, PSA and Ford were closed across the continent. Similar measures are expected to be announced by others as well.
Europe is presently at the center of the coronavirus epidemics that at the time of this writing is confirmed to have infected nearly 200,000 people and killed nearly 8,000 across the world.