VW works council demands better use of plant capacity

Wolfsburg. Klaus Volkert, president of the VW Group works council, will urge the company's top management to better coordinate distribution of work between VW and Audi plants.

"It must not happen, that we have short work in one plant and at the same time overtime and additional shifts in another," Volkert told Automobilwoche.

Volkert, who is scheduled to hold discussions with management in the next few weeks, believes the Group's works committee, which includes brand strategists, human resources experts and plant managers, is a suitable body to coordinate an equal distribution of work. They should meet and coordinate work more often and more intensively, he believes.

Volkert is also demanding more precise product and model planning to avoid persistent cannibalization between models."I have the impression that in some areas within the Group money simply is torn to pieces," he said.

The works council president is concerned about VW's plant in Puebla, Mexico, where the New Beetle is manufactured. After a sharp drop in U.S. sales, a production cut at Puebla is imminent and solutions are being sought to avoid layoffs

VW's Global Works Council, at a recent meeting in Emden, discussed more flexible working hours as a means to deal with overstaffing in a downturn.

In Germany, VW is trying to push lagging sales of the New Beetle with the special "Arte" model, which sells at a discount of 1,700 euro.

At the same time, customers for the New Beetle Convertible have to wait patiently until the first quarter of 2004, while delivery times for the diesel versions of the Touareg are even longer.

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