Germany’s Car Plants Could Be Forced To Close Due To Border Delays

Stricter border checks kin Germany for crucial auto parts is delaying the deliveries to factories which is forcing the companies to closing down manufacturing units and this has emerged as a new threat to the very crucial car manufacturing industry.

Following the implementation of stronger Covid-19 checks and immigration rules at its borders with Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on Sunday by the German government resulted in truck drivers experiencing lengthy delays. The German government is trying to prevent the entry of the new variants of the novel coronavirus inside its borders.

“If there are lengthy traffic jams at the borders due to testing and registration requirements, the supply chain is likely to break down and production will come to a standstill at many passenger car plants in Germany shortly afterward,” said Hildegard Müller, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

Germany imposed the stricter border checks following the pandemic emerging again in the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region where most of the cases were of the new variants of the virus that is known to spread faster them the original strain of the virus. The border checks resulted in traffic jams quickly with vehicles and trucks being lined up as long as up to 20 kilometers in one area south of Dresden on Monday, noted local reports.

However, the German auto company and the largest European auto brand Volkswagen said that it had faced “no serious bottlenecks” at its factories because of the delay in trucks being cleared at the borders. The company however also said that those measures that it has in place to compensate for parts shortages can help the company tackle the delays for “a certain period of time.”

“Should the border traffic situation get worse and result in even longer queues, it will no longer be possible to rule out production restrictions at Volkswagen,” a spokesperson of the company told the media. “We generally see it as the task of politicians to ensure free exchange of goods across national borders and create clear regulations in exceptional circumstances such as these.”

Volkswagen also has factories in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The plants of BMW had supplies and were running according to plans, the company said. The company would “monitor the situation in close coordination with our suppliers and logistics partners,” said a spokesperson for the company.

No comment on the issue was available from Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the export driven economy of Germany is critically dependent on its automotive industry which directly employs more than 880,000 workers in manufacturing.

More than 4.6 million cars were manufactured in Germany in 2019 which accounted for more than 25 per cent of the total cars manufactured in the entire European Union.

The German car makers were forced to temporarily to close some factories last year during the early stages of the spread of the pandemic and this threat of the delay in auto parts from suppliers in Eastern Europe adds on the industries logistical headaches.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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