Volkswagen is expecting the German auto market to recover by summer this year, which starts in June in Europe. This follows the continent-wide suspension of its plants in an attempt to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, which so far has severely impacted the livelihoods of Europeans.
As of March 23, over 171,000 cases have been recorded across Europe, and the death toll is rising. Company sales and marketing chief, Juergen Stackmann told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that “Germany will return to normal in the summer.”
He added that “the standstill cannot last longer than summer. Society and the economy cannot withstand that. We must learn how to live with the virus.”
So far, the automaker has planned for 80,000 of its factory employees in Germany for short-time working. The move prevents employee dismissal in a time of economic uncertainty, and workers are paid reduced salaries.
Stackmann told the newspaper that the Chinese market has already started to pick up, with many auto brands announcing that factory operations have nearly gone back to normal levels. Meanwhile, Volkswagen is looking into new rules to ensure that its factory workers continue to practice social distancing, especially those on the production line.
Another lesson it learned during this viral upheaval was the need to invest more in e-commerce. To that end, it has already launched initiatives in online car trading, which will now be accelerated.