Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid assembly stopped in Russia
The problems with electronic components supply led to the Volkswagen plant being stopped in the Kaluga region, Gazeta.Ru found out. The Volkswagen Tiguan and the “people’s” best-selling Polo and Skoda Rapid assembly plants have been affected. Experts believe that the stoppage of assembly lines will cause the Russian market to decline even more drastically.
Volkswagen has halted auto production at its plant in the Kaluga region because of a shortage of components. Sources familiar with the situation at the plant told Gazeta.ru that the plant has been idle for a few days now. The conveyor belt won’t work next week, and then after a few days of work there will be another pause, said the source. In the future, the production plan will be determined depending on the schedule of deliveries of automotive components.
Volkswagen Tiguan crossovers as well as Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid liftbacks are assembled at the Kaluga plant for the Russian market as well as for export to some CIS countries. Volkswagen Group Rus did not answer Gazeta.Ru’s questions about the Russian plant shutdown (the company also has an assembly line at GAZ Nizhny Novgorod) but confirmed it indirectly.
The company noted that it is experiencing problems with the supply of semiconductors. “Due to the current situation, the company’s production volume will be reduced in the coming months,” the press service of Volkswagen’s Russian representative office told Gazeta.Ru.
The source of the newspaper stressed that the company monitors the situation every day and will change the production plan depending on this. When the chip shortage problem is solved the car production volume will increase, he assured.
According to the Association of European Businesses in Russia, Volkswagen Group sold 16,000 cars in Russia in September this year, a 28% drop compared to the same month last year. This is not the German concern’s first plant shutdown in Russia; in the middle of May this year, Gazeta.Ru reported that a Volkswagen assembly line in Nizhny Novgorod was stopped for the same reason.
The situation looks quite alarming because the day before, Skoda’s head office announced a reduction or complete halt in car production at factories in the Czech Republic until the end of the year.
“Since October 18 and until the end of this year we will significantly reduce or completely stop production of new cars at factories in the Czech Republic,” – quoted “Czech Radio” head of communications Skoda Auto Tomas Koter.
According to him, factory workers will be engaged primarily in the final assembly of incomplete cars. He noted that at the moment there are about 50 thousand cars in the warehouses, to which certain parts and units were not installed because of interruptions in the supply of electronic components. Body parts, power components, as well as
The body parts, power units and assembled units from the stopped Mladá Boleslav plant are supplied to Kaluga for the production of the “twin” Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Rapid, which are built on the same platform.
These cars still have a low level of localization in Russia, believes Sergei Burgazliev, an independent consultant on the automobile industry. Because of this, the production is highly dependent on imported components, he stressed.
“The forced stoppage of the production is quite a logical and predictable decision. It’s economically unprofitable to produce half-finished products which are not ready till the end and to work on stock,” said Burgazliev to “Gazeta.ru”.
The expert expects that in the near future the lack of components may force other automobile companies making cars in this country to suspend or seriously curtail the production. In his opinion by the end of the year the situation will become even more critical as the stock of semiconductors which some automakers have made is being depleted.
First of all, the enterprises of the Renault-Nissan alliance which have already stopped several times recently may face difficulties, thinks Burgazliev.
To a lesser degree, the shortage of electronic components will affect Asian automakers, he thinks. Unlike the European companies, the concerns from Korea and especially from China have managed to provide a relatively stable supply of scarce automotive components to their plants in our country, he stressed.
The automobile companies, which will send their plants for forced vacations, will inevitably give a certain share of the market to Asians, the interlocutor assured.
“Obviously, their place will be taken by those who are not currently experiencing particular difficulties with the production of cars. First of all, these are Haval, Cheeru, Gelly and some other Chinese brands,” Burgazliev concluded.
The shutdown of the plant in Kaluga is unlikely to be very long, and Volkswagen will try one way or another to provide the necessary components for this enterprise, says Igor Morzharetto, a partner at the analytical agency Avtostat. However, even a short term cessation of production of popular models in our country will only worsen the already difficult situation on the Russian market.
“Already now the terms of delivery of most models of Skoda and Volkswagen are one and a half to two months. Downtime of the plant will lead to an even greater increase in this time,” the expert believes.
According to Morzharetto, we should expect another round of price increases. Dealers, taking advantage of the shortage, offer customers cars with optional extras, the cost of which in some cases is as much as a third of the cost of the car, he said.
Will Volkswagen come back to Russia in 2022: how it works now, how have prices changed, can you buy
On March 3, 2022, Volkswagen officially suspended operations in Russia. “Vedomosti” published details from the statement: stopped production of cars, employees will receive part-time benefits. A little earlier, the Volkswagen Group Rus had suspended shipment of the cars that were already in Russia.
What will happen to auto parts in Russia after the departure of foreign car brands: price increase, shortage of parts, purchase in Asia
What is known about the possible return of Volkswagen to Russia in 2022
Since then, there have been various news on the situation of Volkswagen’s prospects. The main insider was published by Vedomosti. Their information: factories will stand idle until summer, and employees were promised downtime until May 12. The company is expected to resume operations in June-July 2022. This was confirmed by several Vedomosti sources.
It should be understood that formally, Volkswagen did not withdraw from the Russian market at all. Suspension of work does not yet mean final withdrawal. Igor Morzharetto, an automobile columnist for the Vesti FM radio station, drew attention to this. He said: “Formally, no one has left. I cannot say that Volkswagen has left.
“Volkswagen is acting on the principle of many other companies that have temporarily suspended operations in the country. Back in mid-March Forbes estimated that about 200 thousand people work at companies that are leaving the Russian market. There is also information on Volkswagen: 5,600 people work at its sites in Nizhny Novgorod and Kaluga.
Russian dealers sold 8,6198 Volkswagen cars in 2021.
Experts are warning right now that we should just wait for all such companies to come back. If they really wanted to leave the Russian market, they would have already done so. Volkswagen has problems now in Europe as well. European plants were temporarily shut down in mid-March because of the shortage of electrical cables.
Will it be possible to buy different VW models in Russia in 2022?
The website Autonews.ru released a large-scale investigation on prices. It indicated that cars in Russia will increase in price by 30-40% in the first months of 2022. Auto.ru had another study – on the dynamics of new car price increases. The chart shows VW Polo (+48.1%) and VW Tiguan (+101.1%). It states that the VW Tiguan costs 5.7 million rubles.
This is definitely not the case at all sales outlets. The website of the official Volkswagen dealer in St. Petersburg states that there are many different models in stock. The 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan is also available there. The price ranges from 3.2 to 4.5 million rubles. In the same place you can look at models of “Volkswagen Polo” and other cars.
“Volkswagen launched the first plant in Russia in 2007.
Autonews.ru had a comment from a representative of a Volkswagen dealership. He warned that prices could go up. The material was published on April 5, 2022. A quote from it: “We still have cars in stock. However, in the current situation I would recommend hurrying up”. Autonews.ru confirms that so far Volkswagen prices have barely changed.
Sales of new cars in Russia have dropped sharply in March 2022. This is indicated in the data from the Association of European Businesses. The overall reduction was 63%, specifically at Volkswagen – 74%. In the near future Volkswagen is also planning to change the vector of development. In the future the company will focus on selling premium models.