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New WLTP Test Cycle: Closure Days Are Coming

The switch to the new WLTP test cycle is a real feat for Volkswagen. It is likely to result in temporary production capacity shortfalls starting in August.

Specifically, the company and the works council are currently discussing necessary closure days. It is also a question of sharing the burden fairly. Employees will receive information about the details as soon as possible.

"We must expect production downtimes in the third quarter."

Volkswagen provided information on the background of the challenges surrounding the WLTP in advance of its implementation. At the most recent works council meeting at the Wolfsburg plant, for example, Group and Brand CEO Herbert Diess announced, “We must expect production downtimes in the third quarter. After the plant holidays in Wolfsburg, we will only build vehicles that meet the new standards. Deliveries will be made gradually as soon as the necessary approvals are available. Nevertheless, we will have to warehouse several vehicles in the meantime. To make sure this number doesn’t get too high, we have to plan closure days in Wolfsburg after the plant holidays until the end of September.”

The holidays at the main plant will last from July 9 to July 27. Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh made it clear at the works council meeting that the impact of program cuts would not be shouldered by employees alone.

As to where the finished vehicles that meet the WLTP standards but still lack the approval of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority will be temporarily stored, Volkswagen has come up with a few preliminary solutions: vehicles will be temporarily parked on the test site in Ehra-Lessien in the district of Gifhorn as well, roughly 20 minutes’ drive from Wolfsburg, and on space at the major airport BER in Berlin.

What is the WLTP?

Legislators are implementing standardized test procedures for the type approval of new vehicles. These procedures measure the exhaust emissions, fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions, as well as the range for electric vehicles. In the EU, these tests were previously based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). This is being replaced by the WLTP, the Worldwide Harmonized Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure. The aim of the WLTP is to determine more realistic CO₂ emissions and fuel consumption for customers. The new test cycle is considerably longer and several times more complex than its predecessor.

When will the WLTP take effect?

All newly launched models and engines have already had to be tested to WLTP standards since September 1, 2017. Starting September 1, 2018, this will also apply to all newly registered vehicles, even existing models. Starting in September, the registration of new vehicles without WLTP testing will no longer be permitted.

More information on WLTP