VWs biggest plant faces some disruption later this year ahead of WLTP introduction

VW's biggest plant faces some disruption later this year ahead of WLTP introduction

At a works meeting held in in Wolfsburg, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess described the new fuel economy and CO2 emissions testing standard, WLTP (the Worldwide harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) as a 'challenge'.

WLTP replaces the lab-based NEDC testing standard and comes into effect in September of this year for all cars sold in the EU (it is considered to be a stricter testing procedure). 

Diess also warned of 'production interruptions' in the third quarter of this year as required type approvals under the new standard become available, with stock-building and halts to Wolfsburg production lines at times also expected.

"Within the Volkswagen brand alone, we need to test more than 200 model variants and have them type-approved within a very short space of time." He added that the test procedure was much more complex and took much longer and that the volume of testing work was three to four times higher than was previously the case.

"We must expect production interruptions in the third quarter."

"To master this challenge, our test rigs have been and will be operated virtually round-the-clock." With respect to Wolfsburg, Diess said that there were already certain signs that: "We must expect production interruptions in the third quarter."

He added: "After the works holidays in Wolfsburg, we will only be making vehicles that meet the new standards. Vehicles will be delivered step-by-step as soon as the type approvals required are available. Nevertheless, we will need to store a large number of vehicles on an interim basis.

"To ensure that this number does not become too large, we will need to plan closure days for production in Wolfsburg during the period between the works holidays and the end of September."

The distribution of these closure days would be discussed with the Works Council over the next few days and the workforce would then be notified as soon as possible, VW said.

Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh said that the effects of program reductions could not simply be imposed on the employees concerned. "It is not the fault of our colleagues that the company has built too few test rigs over the years and can suddenly not handle the test volume required. We will not allow this burden to be borne by the workforce alone at the end of the day. Our colleagues in production are not responsible for this situation."

See also: What does WLTP mean for the auto industry?