Volkswagen reopened the world’s biggest factory

Volkswagen reopened the world’s biggest factory

After a forced closing due to the pandemic, VW reopened the Wolfsburg factory on Monday.

The move comes after the lockdown measures are starting to ease, following the decrease in number of new Covid-19 infections.

The Wolfsburg factory was created in 1938, and since 1945 it produced more than 45 million cars. At first, its purpose was to shelter the workers, but in time it became the company's headquarters and the world’s biggest automotive factory.

Even though it reopened, activity is hampered, as its supply chain crosses 71 countries and more than 2,600 companies - all affected by the virus.

The restart wasn't effortless, as the company implemented 100 different health and safety measures, which were run by workers, and with everyone having access to information about it.

In the beginning, the production will be slow according to automobile demands, government claims, and the availability of cars. In two weeks, it is expected that the output will reach 40% of the one before the pandemic, with 6,000 vehicles built per week. Eight thousand employees will work in reduced-hour shifts, instead of the usual 20,000.

As part of the implemented measures, workers will check their temperature; they will use elbows to open doors, follow the social distancing rules when in meetings and breaks. Tools will undergo disinfection, and it is forbidden to pass them from one to another by hand.

The VW plants in Slovakia reopened last week according to plan. In China, 32 out of the 33 plants are already functional for one month and reached a level of production capacity higher than 60%.

Compared to the same time last year, the production and demand in China dropped by 42%. Analysts expect the number of car sales to reach the 2019 level in a minimum of 10 years. Moreover, 100,000 jobs will disappear in the next 3-4 years, according to analysts.

Today, as the market opened, VW’s stock price gained more than 3%, after yesterday it closed at $132.90.

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Sources: edition.cnn.com, reuters.com, markets.businessinsider.com

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