Industrial relocation at the time of the energy crisis: a note from the Volkswagen announces that the production of the Wolsburg house could move towards shores where gas arrives with reasonable continuity, in particular Portugal and Spain. A desire that could become more concrete in light of the mysterious incidents affecting the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines these days. The announcement is also a signal of the changed geopolitical framework induced by the Russo-Ukrainian war.
In crisis, due to energy uncertainties there are the German plants and also those that the German giant controls in Eastern Europe (Czech Republic and Slovakia, almost entirely dependent on supplies from Moscow). «As alternatives in the medium term – he says a company note -, we are focusing on greater transfer of production capacity or technical alternatives, similar to what is already common practice in the context of challenges related to shortage of semiconductors and other recent supply chain disruptions ”.
Volkswagen’s focus is on i Countries that make greater use of regasifiers and import of liquefied natural gas: the company already controls factories in Portugal, Spain and Belgium and production could be relocated to these countries. Under the current framework, the operation of German factories should be guaranteed for the next 5-6 months (Berlin recently announced that it has achieved 90% of its storage capacity) then to leave from June we will enter a cone of uncertainty.
The entire automotive supply chain is at risk: not only the assembly of the vehicles but also the supply of the individual parts and materials. “Politicians must curb the currently uncontrolled explosion in gas and electricity prices,” he said Thomas Steg, Head of External Relations company – otherwise, energy-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises in particular will have major problems in the supply chain e they will have to reduce or stop production“.
The German economy as a whole is facing a increase in production costs – as reported by the Bloomberg agency – 46% and other companies could follow Volkswagen’s example: one similar strategy was proposed by plastic giant Covestro which however looks towards Asia. Other plants are considering changing their energy mix instead by drawing more on coal and oil.