New emissions regulations forcing the manufacturer to take a pause on production.
Volkswagen will close its factory in Wolfsburg for one or two days per week between August and late September, as it tackles problems caused by the new Worldwide Light vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
Reports from Automotive News in Europe say Volkswagen told employees about the closures over email on Tuesday. The report also says the Zwickau factory will be shut on some days, while the large-car plant in Emden will be slowed in the third and fourth quarter of 2018, as demand for mid-size cars wanes worldwide.
Locally, the changing production schedule caused by WLTP is already having an impact on the Volkswagen range.
The Passat range has lost its 206TSI flagship and Highline 140TDI variants, while the Golf range will kick off with the 110TSI Trendline from later this year, as the carmaker aims to reduce complexity from its range.
The new WLTP rules have been developed in tandem with European manufacturers, and test each individual variant of a particular car for a more accurate fuel-use figure. That means the impact bigger wheels, body add-ons and heavy options have on a car's efficiency will be taken into account.
The test cycle itself has been modified, too. It's longer, with a higher average speed than before, and involves more 'dynamic' driving. In other words, it's been designed to more closely mirror real-world driving.
Volkswagen isn't the only brand impacted by these changes – far from it. Peugeot is stopping 308 GTi production to bring its Sochaux, France, plant up to speed ahead of the new rules, although local supply will remain unaffected. The 208 GTi likely won't be so lucky, with reports suggesting it'll be prematurely put out to pasture because of the new rules.