Volkswagen AG's production facility in Wolfsburg
Volkswagen AG's production facility in Wolfsburg|Volkswagen
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Volkswagen Auto Group reopens its facilities in Europe

VAG operations across Europe are gradually coming back on track, albeit in a phased manner

Sudipto Chaudhury

Volkswagen’s factory at Wolfsburg has reopened after nearly a month-and-a-half of suspension of operations. The German brand’s first product to resume operations will be the Golf, followed by the Tiguan and Touran. Multi-shift operation is to get underway next week, with about 2,600 suppliers, the majority of which are located in Germany, resuming production for Volkswagen’s main plant. Measures to protect the health of the workforce have also been significantly expanded.

Andreas Tostmann, Volkswagen brand board member responsible for production and logistics, emphasised, “The team is returning to workplaces that provide the maximum level of safety. The company and the Works Council have agreed on a 100-point plan to ensure that.”

Volkswagen is set to share this 100-point plan with its 40,000-plus suppliers and logistics partners worldwide. This plan includes specific rules on distances and hygiene, with employees called on to go through a health checklist (including measuring their temperature) before they leave home for work. Within the factories, walkway diversions have been set up to avoid contacts, with numerous distance markers on the floors for keeping distances during meetings. Mouth and nose protection has been mandated in areas where the minimum 1.5-metre distance cannnot be maintained.

Additionally, mobile plexiglass partitions are in use in many of the production floor, with materials no longer transferred from employee to employee but placed in containers. The teams are being given more time to clean their tools. Cleaning frequency for washrooms and team rooms is being intensified, and several hundred additional hand washing facilities are being installed throughout the plant.

Skoda reopens its Mlada Boleslav factory
Skoda reopens its Mlada Boleslav factory Skoda Auto

Meanwhile, production at Skoda Auto’s three plants in Mlada Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabi have also been restarted, with an all-embracing set of hygiene and safety measures like equipping the workforce with either protective face masks or respirators. The carmaker is also providing plenty of disinfectant, and posters to remind the staff about general precautions, like keeping a safe distance from others, refraining from shaking hands, regularly washing or disinfecting their hands, and coughing and sneezing into their sleeves.

Now, we have already spoken about Toyota India compiling a set of restart guidelines for automakers which the brand had vowed to share with all manufacturers so all the processes are in place once the nationwide lockdown lifts on May 4, a scant few days away. However, considering the Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private limited plants are located in Chakan, on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra, a state which currently has the highest number of Covid-19 cases, there might be a chance of the lockdown being extended there.

But irrespective of the lockdown, we at evo India will keep you updated on the latest car info. You can also follow us on Instagram for our daily #evoconversations with the who’s who of the automotive field. As always, stay indoors, and stay safe!

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