Volkswagen has recently canceled one shift on the production line at its Zwickau plant in Germany, dedicated to manufacturing the VW ID.3 and Cupra Born electric models. The decision comes as a result of lower-than-expected demand, prompting a reevaluation of the production strategy.
VW Sachsen operates two production lines in Zwickau, with Line 1 focusing on the ID.3 compact models and Cupra Born, while Line 2 produces the ID.4, ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Q4 Sportback e-tron SUV models. Line 2 is currently at a standstill due to a supply bottleneck for the new APP550 electric motor, anticipated to persist until early December.
Line 1, which experienced a two-week halt during the autumn holidays in October, is now further adjusting its schedule by canceling the night shift. This means that the ID.3 and Cupra Born models will only be produced during the early and late shifts. This shift reduction follows a recent amendment to the works agreement, allowing Volkswagen to transition from a three-shift to a two-shift operation, a change introduced in September.
Looking ahead, depending on market conditions, the second production line in Zwickau may also transition to a two-shift operation next year, as confirmed by a spokesperson for the site. This development is part of Volkswagen's ongoing efforts to align production with market demand.
The challenges in Zwickau extend beyond demand fluctuations. In addition to the production pause in October and the motor supply issues for SUV models, Volkswagen had previously announced the non-extension of temporary contracts for nearly 270 employees at the plant in September, citing indications of low demand.
Zwickau, with a production capacity of up to 350,000 cars per year in three-shift operation, faced a shortfall in 2022, producing only 218,000 vehicles. Despite these challenges, Volkswagen aims to manufacture around 230,000 electric cars in Zwickau this year, according to sources.
While the current measures impact the Saxony plant, Volkswagen has alternative production facilities in Emden and Wolfsburg, where ID.4 and ID.3 models are expected to be produced, respectively. However, the recent production adjustments in Zwickau prompt a reassessment of the necessity for additional production capacity.