Life after COVID-19? Yes, it's possible.
The coronavirus knows no borders but countries are still dealing with the pandemic on a national level. The economic hardships are already being greatly felt and the auto industry is quite concerned. Factories have been idled and employees are out of work. Supplier networks are also affected in the same ways. But Volkswagen has a more upbeat assessment of the situation and believes some level of normalcy will return this summer.
Reuters reports that Juergen Stackmann, management board member for VW passenger cars, has confidence both production and sales will recover in the coming months. However, his assessment is for Germany, not the rest of Europe or North America. Again, individual countries are handling COVID-19 a bit differently. "We assume that Germany will return to normal in the summer," he said.
In the meantime, "We must learn to live with the virus," but emphasized he didn't expect COVID-19 to completely disappear. "The standstill cannot last longer than summer. Society and the economy cannot withstand that. We are preparing ourselves for the moment when it starts again."
As part of those preparations, VW is currently examining new rules to make sure factory workers can keep a proper distance from each other on the production line. This all comes at a critical time for the German automaker as production has just gotten underway for its first-ever electric vehicle built from the ground up, the VW ID.3.
Originally set to debut at the now-delayed 2020 New York Auto Show, the VW ID.4, a crossover which shares the same platform and many components with the ID.3, will be revealed at a later and so far unannounced date. Both vehicles are being built at an all-new factory in Germany, so it's vital VW figure out those new production line safety regulations as soon as possible.
Eventually, ID.4 production will take place at VW's US factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but the long-term impact of the coronavirus could potentially alter those plans as well.