VW is preparing for the loss of gas suppliers

Dhe risk of a lack of gas in winter keeps Volkswagen in suspense. Calculates Europe largest car company not with the extreme case, a nationwide failure of the supply. Regional bottlenecks, for example due to insufficient pressure on the network, could become a problem and affect suppliers who are already groaning under high prices. Politicians must curb the "uncontrolled explosion in gas and electricity prices," says VW chief lobbyist Thomas Steg. Otherwise, it is clear that “small and medium-sized energy-intensive companies in particular will have major problems in the supply chain and will have to reduce or stop production”.

The internal “Energy Crisis Committee” has put 16 countries under surveillance, including Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia. There are 6,000 supplier locations there, 40 percent of which are directly affected if the supply deteriorates and a shortage occurs, according to a round of talks on Thursday. VW is already reacting to this. For example, warehouses for components would be increased and emergency plans drawn up with suppliers. Nevertheless, one cannot "completely rule out" consequences for one's own business, said Steg.

In its own group, VW wants to exceed the savings targets set for Europe and Germany and reduce gas consumption by a "mid double-digit percentage," as announced by Michael Heinemann, head of VW Kraftwerk GmbH. The conversion of the own electricity production in Wolfsburg to gas will come later. VW will continue to use hard coal there until the end of the first quarter of 2024. Elsewhere, consumption is falling, for example by VW lowering the temperature of its offices to 19 degrees and its factories to 17 degrees.

Should there be an extreme shortage with state allocation, Steg demanded that the company should be left to decide how it allocates available gas to its locations. "Distribution at group level would be optimal in order to maintain production as best as possible." At least an allocation "at the level of the legal entity" is necessary, such as Volkswagen AG or Audi AG. Behind this is the concern of only being able to work in certain plants, where different models with different returns roll off the assembly line. "At the same time, we need at least a weekly instead of a daily allocation in order to have the necessary planning security in shift work and in the supply of supplier parts."

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