Volkswagen Stops Passat Production

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
volkswagen stops passat production

Last Friday, production of the Volkswagen Passat was stopped in Emden, Germany. Not because there aren’t enough customers for the car. There are too many.

Lines were stopped, and both shifts were sent home. 1,000 Passats remained unmade that day. The reason: Missing parts. The surging demand for automobiles worldwide leads to capacity constraints at suppliers. Many had closed their doors during carmageddon, the surviving ones had cut down on capacities. Now they are swamped.

The local paper Emder Zeitung says a supplier had problems with cockpit parts. Not an isolated occurrence. A week ago, Dr. Jürgen Geissinger, VP of the German industry organization Verband der Autoindustrie (VDA) reported “shortages from raw materials all the way to electronic components.”

Over in the UK, GM’s Vauxhall grouches that they can’t find enough British parts. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders sees shortages everywhere: The industry is running out of “alloy wheels, alternators and starter motors, brake components, castings and forgings, fasteners, nuts and bolts, plastic mouldings in general, large stampings, sheet steel and aluminium, transmission components and wiring harnesses.” Sounds like the only item that is available in quantity are wiper blades.

Back in Emden, VW spokesman Georg Göricke promised to Das Autohaus that normal Passat production will resume Monday, and that the missing 1,000 units will be built before the year is over.

Just-in-time is great. As long as the parts arrive just-in-time. Stock levels are depleted. The only stocks that are up: Those of the formerly down and out parts suppliers. Morningstar says that “auto-parts stocks have been one of the best-performing industries in 2010, with such prominent names as Magna International, BorgWarner, and TRW all up more than 75 percent for the year to date.”

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  • MaintenanceCosts They can't keep selling through the current hodgepodge mess of desperate or disreputable dealers. Somehow the sales model has to change. Whether they become the Don Quixote that tilts at the franchise-law windmill to sell direct, or they cut a deal to get into another OEM's dealer network, something has to change.They've always been able to engineer competitive cars when they want to, but they haven't had a reasonable way to sell them since the Chrysler tie-up ended.
  • Sgeffe There’s a guy on YouTube who owns several Oldsmobile Diesel-equipped vehicles, including an A-Body with the 4.3 V6. Might be the Chevy.IIRC, Adam Wade on the “Rare Classic Cars” channel stated that this engine was also available in 1985 only in the redesigned C-Bodies (98 Regency, Electra, DeVille/Fleetwood).
  • Tassos It's a GREAT value, but what, if any, profit will GM make from this vehicle? When it prices it at only $30k, while the much smaller and much CRAPPIER FIAT 500E goes for OVER $40k????
  • Tassos The consumers (not the "market") DO trust EVs, but those that are superior and well-priced,THey buy millions of TESLAS and very few copies of all the other dozens and dozens of LEGACY BEVs.Makes sense to me. None of these experienced makers have YET succeeded to design and build a better Tesla, that is ALSO PRICED COMPETITIVELY.
  • Tassos NOBODY really HAS to buy a new or even used car in this insane 2022 market, and those who do are damned fools.THIS IS the way to discourage dealer markup. FIX your damn car and DO NOT GO BEGGING THEM TO GIVE YOU A NEW ONE, in this BIGGEST SELLER's MARKET EVER.DO NOT BE AN ECON ILLITERATE. WAIT A YEAR OR TWO, THEN BUY.