Volkswagen car plants are to restart production, with factories in Zwickau and Bratislava (Slovakia) the first to open next week.
The other plants in Germany and in Portugal, Spain, Russia and the USA are to restart production in the week from April 27.
Subsequently, in the course of May, production will be resumed successively in South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) plants in Hannover and in Poland at Poznań and Września are also to gradually start production again at reduced capacity levels from Monday, April 27.
Ralf Brandstätter, chief operating officer of Volkswagen, said: “With the decisions by the federal and state governments in Germany and the loosening of restrictions in other European states, conditions have been established for the gradual resumption of production.
“Volkswagen has prepared intensively for these steps over the past three weeks. In addition to developing a comprehensive catalogue of measures for the protection of our employees’ health, we have also forged ahead with the re-establishment of our supply chains.”
On this basis, short-time working is to continue at the Volkswagen plants in Germany. However, the number of employees affected by short time working will be successively reduced in line with the resumption of production.
Production will be resumed in line with the current availability of parts, Government requirements in Germany and Europe, the development of sales markets and the resulting modes of operation of the plants, it said.
Irrespective of these developments, compliance with the stringent health protection measures for employees will always be the top priority.
Andreas Tostmann, Volkswagen board member responsible for production and logistics, said: “We are resuming production and logistics with a staged approach in a well-organised way.
“The health of our employees has the highest priority. We are providing safe workplaces and the maximum possible level of health protection with a 100-point plan.
“In full awareness of our responsibility, we are ensuring that the economy regains momentum and cars once again leave the plants and reach our dealers and customers.”
Volkswagen Group Components had already started to resume production step-by-step at its plants in Brunswick and Kassel from April 6, followed by the Components plants in Salzgitter, Chemnitz and Hanover, as well as the Polish plants, from April 14, to safeguard component supplies for vehicle production in China.
Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group components, said: “The step-by-step reopening of our plants was important in order to safeguard supplies to overseas locations. Now we need to restart the entire production network while taking comprehensive protective measures and to supply all the vehicle plants of the various brands with components. The same high requirements for the health protection of our employees apply to all our plants.”
In the resumption of production, the company can also call upon the experience gained with the production ramp-up at its plants in China, where a large number of consistent health protection measures have been successfully implemented.
Overall, 32 of the 33 plants in China have now returned to production. No cases of coronavirus have been reported among the employees there.
Volkswagen says it continues to closely monitor the global situation arising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Further action will be based to a large extent on dialogue and procedures within the Volkswagen Group and recommendations including those of the Robert Koch Institute.