Audi will close its Brussels plant for four days, citing unspecified supply issues.
Audi e-tron production has come to a complete halt as the German automaker, part of the Volkswagen Group, grapples with a parts shortage.
This isn't exactly surprising. As we reported last month, Audi was forced to suspend hundreds of temporary workers at its Brussels manufacturing plant as it slowed production in response to a shortage of vital battery pack components from supplier LG Chem. This time around, Audi won't comment on precisely what part or parts are forcing the production halt, but a spokesperson for the Brussels plant assured Germany's Manager Magazin that the issue was not related to China's recent novel coronavirus outbreak.
The spokesperson told the outlet that production was ceased temporarily to accommodate "bottlenecks in the parts supply." It seems more likely than not that the production halt is instead again related to the supply of battery pack components.
In addition to the unspecified supply issues, Audi e-tron production also seems to have been impacted by start-up issues related to Audi's e-tron Sportback - an alternate body style with more of a sloped, car-like profile.
Ultimately, Audi's Brussels factory, which shuttered Thursday, is slated to remain closed through Tuesday, February 25th, representing a closure of four work days in total. Manager Magazin reports that internally, Audi has had to revise its production targets for 2020, reducing the figure from 70,000 units to 40,000.
Audi isn't the only manufacturer to be experiencing issues with battery-electric vehicle production; earlier in the month, Jaguar was forced to suspend production of the i-Pace electric crossover for a week as it dealt with a shortage of battery components. Jaguar, like Audi, gets its lithium-ion vehicle battery packs from LG Chem - as does Mercedes-Benz, which also made the news for its production difficulties with regard to the electric EQC crossover.
Automakers around the globe are ramping up their battery-electric vehicle efforts in the face of quickly rising European emissions standards. For its part, Audi is preparing to invest some $13.2 billion into electric vehicle development and production through 2024, partly to fund the introduction of 20 new pure-electric vehicles by 2025.