Zwickau, Germany – Volkswagen restarted production at its Zwickau plant in Germany on Thursday, where its ID.3 mass-market electric vehicle is being rolled out ahead of its launch later this year.

The company said the plan was “health before production numbers” as the assembly line started up after a five-week closure under new health rules agreed with worker representatives. These include wearing face protection where a 1.5 meter distance can’t always be observed. Other measures include regular cleanings. Distancing is required in washrooms, changing rooms and lunchrooms.

At restart the plan was to make 50 cars per day, about a third of previous output.

Volkswagen worker Heiko Gruner told the dpa news agency that he was grateful to be back. “For the past weeks I missed the purpose and the usual structure of the day,” said the 49-year-old.

The plant makes the ID.3 electric compact, which is key to Volkswagen’s plan to make battery only cars a mass-market product. Volkswagen aims to sell the car for prices starting below 30 000 euros (R615 000).

Manufacturing plants in several European countries have resumed work in recent days as some governments look to ease some of the lockdown measures that have dealt a blow to the economy.

A train transports new Volkswagens after the production restart in Zwickau, Germany. AP Photo/Jens Meyer.

Customers were also able to pick up their new cars at Volkswagen’s futuristic glass factory in the eastern German city of Dresden on Thursday after a four-week pause due to the coronavirus.

The vehicles are being completely disinfected before delivery and handed over to their new owners in a contactless procedure, the company said.

Technical features are being explained in a video, with the carmaker foregoing its usual in-person rundown of how the car works.

Last year, around 1300 people picked up their car at the factory in Dresden, with that figure set to double in 2020 despite the economic turmoil unleashed by the pandemic.

AP & dpa

By Staff Reporters