Volkswagen Group has cautioned the automaker will ultimately shutdown most of its European assembly plants in the near future. The shutdowns stem from the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which is impacting Europe significantly as of this week.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess confirmed the plans while speaking to reporters on Monday, according to CNBC. Diess explains that the automaker’s plants in Spain, Italy and Slovakia will be closing in the near future. All three countries have been among the hardest hit with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Diess isn’t confirming an exact duration for the shutdowns. Instead opting for language of “at least two weeks.” Given the fluidity of the COVD-19 situation, it comes as little surprise that executives are unable to provide specific guidance.
Speaking of loose guidance, Diess also issued a warning to investors, saying 2020 is going to be a “very difficult year.” Like with the plant closure timelines, Diess has not provided a specific forecast, citing only that the operational and financial impacts of COVID-19 are unknown at this time.
Volkswagen isn’t the only automaker looking to shutter assembly plants. Fiat Chrysler has already suspended production in Italy and other automakers are having conversations about ceasing production as COVID-19 spreads and the global economy continues to decline.