Audi Brussels plans to cut e-tron production in 2021, according to L’Echo. The Brussels plant is where the e-tron quattro electric SUV is manufactured. Although, a few days ago, Audi’s CEO, Volkner Duesmann, mentioned that there was stable production and the possibility of increasing it by few cars per hour. Though, he may have been referring to the remainder of 2020.
L’Echo reported that fears are mounting for 2021, and there is a discussion around a production program that is smaller than initially planned for the next year. Grégory Dascotte, permanent MWB-FGTB at Audi Brussels, confirmed this. The production of the Audi e-tron SUVs will be reduced by 4,100 to 5,700 cars in the first quarter.
The article noted that the extent of the reduction in production is not known, but a trade unionist confirmed that it’s “sufficient to have to adapt the way of production next year.” Louis Van Heddegem, permanent CSC-METEA at Audi Brussels, also shared his thoughts. “It’s classic, every year we renegotiate the volumes. The discussion is open on the extent of the reduction, and nothing has been decided for the moment. In a month, that can still change. Everything is very fluctuating, for now.”
Audi Brussels currently has 500 temp workers out of its total of 3,000 workers. “Our point of view is to try to keep all the staff,” explained Dascotte. The FGTB hopes to keep an hourly production speed next year close to its current one, and it’s looking at negotiations on unemployment and the possibility of reducing working hours. “With one hour less working time, we get 6 days off over the year. If we get 2 hours, that comes down to 12 days per worker to be funded,” Dascotte said. Audi Brussels hopes to reduce the weekly working time to avoid layoffs.
Best Selling Vehicle
Audi highlighted what CleanTechnica readers know well — the e-tron is a top seller. “The Audi e-tron continues to be the best-selling vehicle in its segment in the world. We are currently doing everything possible to achieve the required volume despite the coronavirus,” Audi’s factory confirmed. Peter D’Hoore, head of external communications at the plant, also emphasized that he wouldn’t talk production numbers. “Please understand that we will not be commenting on production figures for 2021.”
Audi Brussels, as with basically all other automakers, has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic. The company may expect that this carries over in 2021. The Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) reported that the European automobile industry has suffered a loss of production exceeding 4 million vehicles, or about €122 billion.
Overproduction & Snubbing EVs?
To be quite honest, we do have overproduction of gasoline and diesel vehicles — and the focus needs to change. However, back in July, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said that he believed the combustion engine would be “alive for a very long time,” and Audi would push it along. “This is why we continue to invest massively in the development of combustion engines.”
He also noted that even though the share of electric vehicles will rise significantly by the mid 2020s, combustion models will still make up 60–70% of the market. “Of course, we will continue to step on the gas regarding combustion engines,” he said. Is that the goal?
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