VW will resume ID3 production, reaffirms summer European launch date

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FRANKFURT — Volkswagen will resume production of its battery-powered ID3 hatchback on Thursday, as the brand provided new, more precise guidance for its production ramp-up after the coronavirus-related shutdown.

A VW brand spokesman said the automaker is reopening its German car factories with production of the Golf-sized EV at its plant in Zwickau.

The ID3 is a key launch for VW as the first vehicle in its new generation of affordable, long-range electric cars. VW has converted the Zwickau factory to build compact-sized EVs based on its long-range MEB architecture for its VW, Audi and Seat brands.

The spokesman said the summer launch date for the ID3 in Europe remains in place despite the production shutdown that started on March 20. Manager Magazin reported in February that software glitches were threatening to delay the launch schedule.

“Our target is to deliver the 30,000 ID3 first-edition pre-booked models to all customers at the same time,” the VW spokesman told Automotive News Europe in an emailed statement.

“Vehicles built will be equipped with whatever version of the software suite is current at the corresponding time of their production and prior to their delivery to customers in summer will receive the latest version. Subsequent to the market launch the digital functions will then continue to be updated in regular increments in the following months,” VW said.

Shortly before Zwickau was shut down, VW brand management board member Thomas Ulbrich said the factory’s main assembly line was producing over 100 units of the ID3 per day.

The ID3 is targeted at the European market and is not expected to be sold in the U.S.

VW will add more MEB-based EVs on the plant’s second line when production of the internal combustion engine version of the Golf station wagon is expected to end by early June, allowing the plant to reach its full 330,000 annual capacity of between 1,350 and 1,500 vehicles per day by next year at the latest.

The next model to be built at the factory will be the ID4 crossover. The plant will also build the production version of Audi’s Q4 e-tron concept and the Seat el-Born concept’s production model.

VW restarted European production at its plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. The multibrand factory builds the the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 high-margin utility vehicles, along with minicars, including the electric version of the VW Up.

Last week, the automaker said it would have a staggered approach to restarting output, beginning with Bratislava and Zwickau this week, before moving on to all its other plants in Europe, Russia and the U.S. later.

During May, the remainder of its car-producing sites across the world are also expected to resume output.

VW has said that all but one of its 33 powertrain and vehicle plants in China are back in operation.

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Saurabh Shukla

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