Volkswagen expects car market to recover in summer: FAZ

FILE PHOTO: Employees leave the Volkswagen (VW) plant after VW starts shutting down production in Europe amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wolfsburg, Germany, late March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE expects the German car market to recover in the summer after the automaker was forced to suspend output because of the coronavirus pandemic, an executive told a newspaper on Wednesday.

The company has initially halted production until April 3, but Juergen Stackmann, management board member for the VW passenger cars brand, gave an upbeat assessment to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, saying that the Chinese market has already started to pick up.

“We assume that Germany will return to normal in the summer,” Stackmann was quoted as saying.

“We must learn how to live with the virus,” he said, adding that he did not expect the virus to disappear quickly.

“The standstill cannot last longer than summer ... Society and the economy cannot withstand that ... We are preparing ourselves for the moment when it starts again.”

Volkswagen is also looking into new rules to ensure factory workers can keep their distance from each other on the production line.

He added that one of the lessons from the crisis was the need to invest more in e-commerce, saying Volkswagen had already launched initiatives in online car trading that it would now accelerate.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Edmund Blair and David Goodman