Production at several Volkswagen plants has been severely disrupted due to a shortage of components, a new headache for the German car giant that is still grappling with a massive pollution cheating scandal.
Work at the many factories, including at its largest plant in Wolfsburg, has been hit.
At a factory in Emden, in northwestern Germany, 7 200 workers have been put on parttime duty due to missing parts.
“A Volkswagen supplier has suspended deliveries of components, leading to bottlenecks in production,” VW said.
The motor giant obtained a court injunction last week to compel the supplier – which VW did not name – to resume deliveries, but that has not been complied with.
“Since we can’t foresee how things will develop, we’re examining making working times flexible in parts of our Wolfsburg site,” the company said.
But German news agency DPA said there were two suppliers that had disrupted deliveries – one that makes textiles and leather for car interiors and another that specialises in cast parts for gearboxes.
Works council member Guido Mehlhop said: “This is more than just annoying, especially when the court already issued an injunction last week requiring the suppliers to deliver the parts as contractually agreed.
“Someone is trying to stage a cliff-hanger on the backs of the workers,” he said, calling for a quick solution.
The Volkswagen Group has been battling to get past its biggest crisis, which erupted in September after it was forced to admit that it had installed sophisticated software into 11 million diesel engines with the express purpose of duping emissions tests.
The revelation led to a 40% plunge in the company’s share price, wiping out ß25-billion (R378-billion) in market capitalisation in two days. Volkswagen shares were down 0.45%in early trading in Frankfurt yesterday.
German consumer association chief Klause Mueller yesterday stepped up calls for the company to offer compensation to affected customers in Germany, as it had promised to do in the US.
“Anyone who defrauded customers like Volkswagen did should pay damages,” he said.
Volkswagen last month obtained preliminary approval from a judge in California for a settlement – which includes $10-billion (R134-billion ) to affected US car owners.