VW aims to cut costs at its parts plants

Up to 30,000 jobs could be cut

Wolfsburg. The Volkswagen group is poised to undertake cost-cutting reforms at three German parts plants that could trigger the elimination of up to 30,000 jobs.

VW group CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder has already told workers at the automaker's vehicle assembly plants in Germany that costs must be reduced by cutting jobs and introducing more flexible working times.

Pischetsrieder and VW brand CEO Wolfgang Bernhard also plan to put three of VW's Germany parts plants -- in Kassel, Brunswick and Hanover -- under the microscope to find potential savings.

A total of 25,000 to 30,000 jobs would be at risk in the mid-term if "no significant, lasting cost reductions" can be realized for the affected factories, according to management estimates.

To reduce the impact of job cuts, the automaker's German workers will have to agree to new working hour models, says VW.

Outsourced exhausts?

According to VW sources, the company could implement sharp cutbacks in the production of exhaust systems and transmissions at Kassel. That would give VW better pricing through outsourcing from specialized suppliers.

The Roland Berger consulting firm has outlined courses of action for the threatened factories in an internal study obtained by Automobilwoche.

Marcus Berret, a Roland Berger partner, sees more flexible and longer working hours, possibly as high as 40 hours a week, along with a sharp reduction in overtime charges as a way to cut costs without the "enormous expenditures" relating to layoff programs.

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