Volkswagen Reopens Europe's Biggest Car Factory with New Safety Measures

Europe's largest car factory run by the world's largest carmaker by sales, Volkswagen, has reopened its doors as of Monday, after a complete shutdown due to coronavirus.
Fabienne Lang

As a few measures start to ease up in Germany, Europe's largest economy, the country is getting some of its companies reopened to move economic matters slowly back on track. 

On Monday, Volkswagen (VW) reopened its largest factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, after a complete shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. New hygiene measures have been put in place to ease workers into work, all while trying to keep the coronavirus at bay. 


Germany's fall in infection rates

Germany's fall in infection rates has pushed the nation to slowly ease some of its lockdown restrictions. Volkswagen, the world's largest carmaker by sales, saw 8,000 of its workers go back to work on Monday amid this easing of restrictions. 

This week, the company stated it will build 1,400 cars, followed by 6,000 within two weeks. 

Work will gradually increase depending on how safe the environment is maintained. To begin with, the Wolfsburg plant's production capacity will be around 10% - 15%, easing its way up to 40% of its pre-outbreak levels next week, Andreas Tostmann, VW's board member responsible for production told Reuters

As per Tostmann, "The restart of Europe’s biggest car factory after weeks of standstill is an important symbol for our employees, our dealers, suppliers, the German economy and for Europe."

Extra hygiene measures have been put into place. Workers have been asked to measure their temperature and to get into their work overalls at home, so as to minimize over-crowded changing rooms at the plant. 

Markings have been placed on the floor around the plant, noting the safe distance of 1.5 meters for workers to stay apart, and extra time has been given for workers to properly disinfect their tools and surfaces. 

VW had previously started reopening other, smaller, factories in the last month, with its plants for components in Braunschweig, Kassel, Salzgitter, and Hanover starting up again in early April, and car manufacturing resumed in Zwickau and Bratislava on April 20, and Chemnitz on April 23. 

Furthermore, VW stated that 70% of its dealerships in Germany had also reopened. 

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