FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG will discuss with its workers in the coming days how long it plans to shut down production at its main German plant in Wolfsburg due to the switch to new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) test standards.
"We will only build vehicles after the works holiday that fulfill the new standards. The deliveries will take place gradually as soon as the necessary approvals are there," CEO Herbert Diess said at a staff briefing, according to a company statement.
"But many vehicles will have to be warehoused in the meantime. To make sure their numbers don't become too large we will have to plan closure days through the end of September," he said.
The new standard will start on September 1.
Diess said the changeover to the new WLTP test cycle is a challenge. "Within the Volkswagen brand alone, we need to test more than 200 model variants and have them type-approved within a very short space of time," he said in the statement.
The test procedure is much more complex and takes much longer, Diess said, and the volume of testing work is three to four times higher than was previously the case. “To master this challenge, our test rigs have been and will be operated virtually round-the-clock.”
VW's labor boss, Bernd Osterloh, said production workers should not lose out because of the production stoppage.
"It is not the fault of our colleagues that the company has built too few test rigs over the years and can suddenly not handle the test volume required," he said. "We will not allow this burden to be borne by the workforce alone at the end of the day. Our colleagues in production are not responsible for this situation."
Several automakers have said they face challenges adapting their vehicle fleets to meet the WLTP, which is based on real-driving data rather than theoretical scenarios.
Because the new WLTP regime gives higher CO2 readings than the old NEDC system, it will force some automakers to delay road certification and sales or push vehicles into a higher tax bracket.
VW builds the Golf, Tiguan and Touran models in Wolfsburg, according to Automotive News Europe's car assembly plant map.