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VW workers urge faster EV rollout at world’s biggest car factory

‘The location needs a quicker way toward e-mobility.’
Image: Bloomberg

Volkswagen AG’s main plant in Wolfsburg might face historically low output this year and needs a faster shift toward electric vehicles to remain competitive, according to the German automaker’s top labour officials.

The planned production of an electric car — dubbed Trinity — is set to roll off assembly lines in 2026, which is too late to ensure sufficient utilisation of the site, VW works council chief Daniela Cavallo and her deputy Gerardo Scarpino said in a joint statement on Saturday.

“The location needs a quicker way toward e-mobility,” Cavallo said.

The global chip shortage hampers manufacturing at the sprawling Wolfsburg factory, which produced about 780 000 cars annually on average over the past 10 years and covers an area as big as Monaco. VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess has pitted the site against Tesla’s factory that’s under construction outside Berlin and is slated to start production next year. VW plans to upgrade Wolfsburg with the latest electric-vehicle technology and software operations.

Due to the persistent scarcity of semiconductor chips, the output at Wolfsburg this year could even fall below the level of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic pushed production to just below 500 000 cars, according to VW’s works council. VW’s initial goal agreed in a labor pact five years ago was to make at least 820 000 vehicles in Wolfsburg last year.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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