Is VW Zwickau facing a permanent two-shift operation?

A model of the new generation of the ID.3 is being assembled at the Volkswagen factory in Zwickau. As of this week, the production line in Hall 5, where the ID.3 and Cupra Born models are manufactured, only works in two shifts instead of three. (archive image)
Image rights: dpa

Only two layers instead of three? Volkswagen is responding to declining demand for electric cars and is making preparations for a permanent two-shift operation at the Zwickau factory. It already exists in one of the production lines. If this happens permanently due to weak demand, there is a risk of further layoffs of temporary employees, according to information from MDR.

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Due to the weak demand for electric cars, the Volkswagen Group has prepared to be able to reduce its production in Zwickau in the long term. As the company informed MDR SACHSEN, a corresponding agreement was reached with the works council. In this way, next year two production lines could go from operating in three shifts to operating in two shifts. However, the final decision depends on the market situation. VW wants to secure the location in Zwickau.

A production line in Zwickau now operates in two shifts

In Zwickau, among others, the ID.3 and Cupra Born models are manufactured. As of this week, this same production line only operates in two shifts instead of three. A spokesperson explained that the management and the works council were in agreement on this. In September management terminated a corresponding employment contract from 1991.

The group depends on market developments to see whether other production lines at the VW plant in Zwickau will switch to two-shift operation. (archive image)
Image rights: dpa

Reluctant demand for electric cars could cost more jobs

The Zwickau plant was the first in the group to fully adapt to the production of electric cars. But demand is developing less than expected. In addition, electric cars are now manufactured at other VW and Audi plants. Production in Zwickau was therefore temporarily reduced in October and only one of the two production lines is currently in operation.

According to a study by MDR UMSCHAU, the capacity utilization of the Zwickau plant is currently only 60 percent. Instead of the possible 360,000 vehicles, only 220,000 electric cars will leave the Zwickau production halls this year. If the situation does not improve next year, according to information from the MDR, up to 2,200 jobs for temporary employees will be in danger.

Concerned union

In addition to Volkswagen employees, many other employees in the supplier industry will be affected by the sharp drop in demand for electric cars, fears Thomas Knabel, union representative at IG Metall Zwickau. Experts estimate that the drought will last about two years. This also has consequences for employment. Several expired contracts for temporary employees have not been extended, and many more without permanent employment are worried about their jobs. “The concern remains where the journey will take us,” Knabel said.

More about the subject

This topic on the program:MDR SACHSEN – Sachsen radio | Regional news from the Chemnitz studio | November 14, 2023 | 9am

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