Volkswagen has been forced to pause production at its Chengdu, China plant due to a wave of COVID cases.
China has continued its aggressive “zero-COVID” policy, aiming to rid itself of the virus completely. The Chinese government hopes to accomplish this through forced quarantines, mass testing, and numerous other measures. As the city of Chengdu, among many others, has hit a wave of COVID cases, Volkswagen has been forced to pause production at its facility there, as reported by Reuters.
Volkswagen (VW) began to pause production last week but has been forced to continue as COVID cases persist. At the same time, VW has put holds on two of the five production lines at the facility, citing a lack of parts. Volkswagen has not specified when production will resume, nor has the Chinese government given any indication of when restrictions may be relaxed. In all likelihood, VW, and other manufacturers, may be forced to wait until the wave of cases passes.
According to Volkswagen Group’s Chinese site, the Chengdu plant has a production capacity of 600,000 units annually. Currently, the facility produces the VW ID.4, the VW Golf, the VW T-Roc, and the Audi Q2 (both gas and fully electric versions). Volkswagen has not specified which vehicles have been affected by parts shortage.
Volkswagen is far from the only car maker affected by the recent COVID wave. While not pausing production, BMW has sent office workers to work at home, and Tesla has similarly felt the pressure as COVID testing has increased in Shanghai following a wave of cases there.
As if the situation couldn’t get worse for automakers, it did just that over the weekend as protests erupted in many major cities in China, including Chengdu. According to Reuters, the protests were against the Chinese government’s heavy-handed COVID policy.
While compared to the rest of the world, China has been able to keep COVID cases low. However, the government’s sensitivity to case numbers has been detrimental to automakers. It is unclear if these production halts from many manufacturers will lead to supply shortages or price increases elsewhere. For the time being, car-makers like Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Tesla, who have major manufacturing locations in the country, will continue to feel the effects of these COVID policies.
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