Audi is making some major personnel changes at their Brussels plant, where the e-tron quattro electric SUV is manufactured. The jobs of at least 145 temporary workers are to be put on hold. In the worst case, this lot could threaten up to 250 employees.
The Belgian news agency Belga broke the news. The agency cites difficulties of a supplier to deliver parts needed for the installation of the batteries in the electric SUVs as the reason for Audi letting the temps go. The Belgian newspaper L’Echo however, becomes more specific and presumes the supply issue concerns the battery cells and implicates LG Chem in particular.
Audi itself is quoted as follows by L’Echo: “The Audi e-tron and the Audi Sportback are our first fully electric vehicles. It is a new drive technology for which we are cooperating with 300 suppliers. The cooperation is therefore complex. We are facing an unexpected situation and have taken measures to stabilise supplies,” said Audi plant spokesman Peter D’hoore.
The production of the Audi e-tron in Brussels will, therefore, be reduced by 4,100 to 5,700 vehicles in the first quarter, the report continues.
According to information in the newspaper, battery-pack production at night will be suspended. Employees would be given 16 days off per shift, and 145 temporary jobs will also be cut at short notice. On Wednesday, the company management wants to meet with the unions against this background. Originally, the management is said to have even pushed the decision to send 250 temporary workers home.
What now appears as overstaffing results from the increase in production that Audi had planned in Brussels for this year. The output was to be increased to 24 electric cars per hour. Now, however, it remains at 20 EVs per hour for the time being – and as a result, some of the temporary staff that had been hired previously will have to go.
Audi is not the only manufacturer with problems in terms of battery replenishment. According to a recent media report, Daimler is also rumoured to have cut the Mercedes EQC’s sales targets for 2020 considerably – mainly because of a shortage of batteries. However, the company denies this and says it is sticking to its original plans.
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