Unplugged: VW idles ID.3 and Cupra Born production amidst waning demand

Max McDee, 27 September 2023

Despite Volkswagen’s concerted efforts to be a frontrunner in the electric vehicle race, the automaker finds itself hitting a speed bump. In an unforeseen turn of events, the German automotive giant has announced a temporary halt in the production of its electric ID.3 and Cupra Born models for the first two weeks of October.

Why, you ask? The answer, though somewhat surprising considering the global shift towards EVs, is declining demand for electric VWs.

Volkswagen disclosed that the Zwickau factory, responsible for assembling both the ID.3 and the Cupra Born, would cease production from October 2 to October 13. Meanwhile, the Dresden facility, another production hub for ID.3, will follow suit, with a production pause spanning from October 2 to October 16.

Unplugged: VW idles ID.3 and Cupra Born production amidst waning demand

The specific number of units affected by this production halt remains undisclosed, leaving us to ponder the extent of the impact. Equally, VW has been tight-lipped regarding the number of employees who will feel the ripple effects of this decision.

Adding a layer of intrigue to this development is the revelation that Volkswagen is contemplating ending production at its Dresden factory entirely. The plant, which has been operational since 2002, could potentially save the company a cool $21 million annually upon closure, although the timeline for this remains hazy.

Workers at the Zwickau factory haven’t been strangers to the winds of change either. The company recently reneged on its commitment to provide 269 permanent contracts to temporary workers. The reasons? A concoction of challenging market conditions, a dip in EV demand, and the rising tide of competition from Chinese-manufactured EVs.

Unplugged: VW idles ID.3 and Cupra Born production amidst waning demand

Despite the setback, Volkswagen hasn’t hit the brakes on innovation. The company recently unveiled updates for the ID.3, and a refreshed Cupra Born is reportedly in the pipeline. This new model is set to boast a larger 12.9-inch display and an optional dual-motor powertrain.

The company hints that this temporary production halt raises questions about the market viability of electric vehicles in a world increasingly advocating for green alternatives. The truth is somewhat pointing its unforgiving finger at Volkswagen, rather than the EV industry as a whole. While the automotive industry is shifting gears towards sustainability, Volkswagen’s production pause may hint at consumers pumping the brakes on embracing VW’s electric vehicles.

Could this be a temporary roadblock, or is it indicative of a larger trend of consumer hesitation? The declining demand for Volkswagen’s electric offerings comes amidst a backdrop of increased competition and apparent market saturation. With more choices available, consumers might be becoming more discerning, scrutinizing options before making a commitment.

Unplugged: VW idles ID.3 and Cupra Born production amidst waning demand

While Volkswagen really would like us all to look away from its EVs and focus on the apparent Chinese competition, the truth is a bit of a mix of both - there is no way to hide the fact that compared to VW, the Chinese EVs stand out in every aspect - quality, performance, and value.

But what about Audi, BMW, or Skoda? What about Renault and Citroen who can’t keep up with the demand for their EVs? Mini, Opel, Ford - none of those companies is contemplating shutting the production down. Quite the opposite - they are looking for miracles to increase outputs and speed up the development of new vehicles. And then there’s Tesla.

It seems that VW is crying wolf, its lobbying efforts resulted in the EU’s investigation into the Chinese subsidies, which will actually hurt Renault as a result. Volkswagen itself is the recipient of huge subsidies in China but it likes to keep that under the rug for now as it officially doesn’t sell any China-made EVs in Europe. For now.


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Reader comments

This is a normal plant shutdown for model year changes. It happens every year.

  • purplexed

Who would pick this car up when the refresh doesn't include the AP550 motor and the new 4.x software? It would still have the issues of the older ID.3. And the price is out of this world, costs as much as a premium car.

  • Anonymous

German automobiles have no future. Boring designs. Outdated tech. Inflated prices. Living on past glory and brand name. We had 2 guys in my area buy 2 new cars, one Volkswagen and other Kia. Kia is priced less but feels much better in all aspects. De...



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