As if semiconductor shortages weren't a big enough headache for carmakers, the crisis in Ukraine is now putting additional strain on vehicle production.
Volkswagen has announced it will halt production this week at two electric vehicle plants in Germany after Russia's attack on Ukraine has affected deliveries of components.
The automaker said that production of VW, Audi and Cupra compact battery-electric cars built on VW Group's MEB platform will be be affected. A VW spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the company will halt production at its Zwickau plant from Tuesday to Friday and at its facility in Dresden from Wednesday to Friday.
"The Volkswagen Group's global supplier network, which comprises more than 40,000 suppliers, also includes some suppliers in western Ukraine. Due to the current situation in this region, there may be disruptions in the supply chain."
Deliveries of electrical cable harnesses produced in Ukraine have come to a halt, among other components made in the eastern European country.
Gallery: Volkswagen ID.5 Production In Zwickau, Germany
The Zwickau site, VW's largest EV plant in the world, builds the Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback, and Cupra Born. Daily EV production in Zwickau is estimated at around 1,200 electric cars. The ID.3 is also built in Dresden, albeit at much lower capacity.
Meanwhile, Skoda has not announced production stops yet for the MEB-based Enyaq iV and Enyaq Coupe iV, which are both made at its main plant in Mlada Boleslav, Czechia.
On Friday, February 25, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said the automaker had created a task force to assess the possible consequences of the events in Ukraine on the company, for example on supply relationships.
Besides components made in Ukraine, VW Group also sources components from Russia, where it owns a vehicle factory in Kaluga, southwest of the capital Moscow. With Russia now hit with unprecedented economic sanctions, VW is not able to export vehicles or parts made there.
The company is already feeling the impact of semiconductor shortages on its production, especially at its main plant in Wolfsburg. In 2021, lost production at the site that's home to the VW Golf amounted to 330,000 cars, with total production hitting the lowest figure since 1958.
Central and Eastern Europe represent an important sales market for VW Group, with 2021 deliveries in the region reaching almost 660,000 vehicles across all brands—including 206,000 units from the core brand VW Passenger Cars.