Despite low capacity utilisation at Volkswagen’s Zwickau electric car factory, production of the Audi Q4 e-tron and the VW ID.3 is to be expanded to other locations, a media report said. noted VW had said in Thursday it was cutting hundreds of jobs in Zwickau due to the “current market situation”. cited a VW spokesman as saying: “Given the current market situation, we are unable to extend the 269 fixed term contracts which are coming to end soon after their 12-month term.”

VW added it remained “100 percent convinced” by its pivot towards e-mobility and that the Zwickau site would continue to “play a central role”.

But union IG Metall spokesman Thomas Knabel called the decision a “personal catastrophe for the 269 people affected and their families”. said decisions announced last year remained valid nonetheless even though other group plants would also build the Audi Q4 e-tron and VW ID.3.

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“We will also produce the Q4 e-tron in Brussels from the end of 2023 in addition to production in Zwickau,” quoted an Audi spokesperson as telling the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). The ID.3 was also scheduled for build in Wolfsburg from autumn but initially only in small numbers. Parts for final assembly would initially come from Saxony with and full production planned for 2024. said doubts about that strategy arose recently because Zwickau was not working to capacity building the ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, Cupra Born and Q4 e-tron SUVs and Sportbacks.

Originally, all six models were produced only in Zwickau before other plants came on street such as ID.4 production in Chattanooga, US in mid-2022 for North America.

As well as culling hundreds of jobs in Zwickau,, citing Automobilwoche, said VW group would also permanently cut shifts.

Reuters, citing dpa, had reported earlier this week the automaker would reduce staff by allowing fixed term contracts to expire which could affect a few hundred employees at the end of October.

Over 2,000 people work at the factory on fixed term contracts, of about 10,700 employees total.

A staff meeting had been planned at the Zwickau plant for Thursday.

Dpa had also reported trade union IG Metall representatives had written a letter to VW management asking what the carmaker was doing about demand and if the factory would remain a three-shift location.

Volkswagen had announced back in 2018 it would spend EUR1.2bn (US$1.29bn) converting the plant to electric vehicle production, keeping the workforce stable despite EVs requiring less labour than combustion engine cars via increasing output.

But the German carmaker was now facing growing competition from Tesla and a growing number of Chinese automakers, as well as lower demand in the European EV market due to high inflation and cuts to subsidies, the various media reports noted.