Audi plant in Hungary begins tooling up after three-week production halt
Volkswagen Group's Audi brand restarted operations at its plant in Hungary on Tuesday after halting work last month due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Citing a poor sales outlook and uncertainties in component supply, Volkswagen announced on March 17 production halts at plants throughout Europe.
Production was suspended March 22 at its Audi plant in Gyor, 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Budapest, that employs almost 13,000 people.
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In a video posted on a Gyor-based news site late Monday, Audi's local management said it had agreed with Volkswagen to begin preparations Tuesday for restarting full-scale production.
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"Now the most important task for the company is to prepare for continuing complete vehicle production despite the critical situation," said Audi Hungary head Alfons Dintner.
"We believe that within a few weeks we can get up and running... Our clients worldwide are waiting for cars. We have to be a reliable supplier," he said.
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First operations to restart include maintenance work, and organisational measures aimed at relaunching production lines while implementing anti-virus health rules.
Physical distancing between workers will be enforced, and workstation plexiglass dividers and personal protective equipment provided where necessary, said the firm.
Buses transporting workers to the plant will be continuously disinfected, it said.
Hungary's nationalist premier Viktor Orban has imposed a state of emergency over the pandemic and ordered strict confinement measures like other countries around the world.
Hungary, which has a population of almost 10 million, has recorded more than 1,500 Covid-19 infections and 122 deaths.