VDA and BGL warn of interrupted supply chains and production in German automotive plants

    Berlin, February 11, 2021

    VDA President Müller: Production lines could stop after a few hours – Rapid coronavirus tests for drivers without medical certificate – BGL board spokesman Engelhardt: Threat of empty supermarket shelves

    The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (BGL, German freight transport association) have grave worries about the effects of the planned controls at Germany’s borders with the Czech Republic and Austria. VDA and BGL propose that rapid self-tests should be accepted from drivers without a medical certificate, until there is sufficient testing capacity at the borders. That would be the only way to prevent interruption of supply chains and subsequent standstills in automotive production, and to avoid shortages of supplies for commerce.

    Hildegard Müller, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed:

    “Many parts from Austria and the Czech Republic needed to build vehicles at German facilities are delivered directly to the assembly lines either just-in-time or just-in-sequence. If the obligations to test and report at the borders cause longer traffic queues, the result could well be interrupted supply chains, shortly followed by production stoppages at many car plants in Germany. The first production lines will come to a halt after only a few hours if the materials are not supplied.”

    In contrast to spring 2020, when the companies had an “early warning” two to three weeks before deliveries from Italy stopped and were able to stock up on parts in advance, this decision now comes as a surprise and poses huge challenges for manufacturers, suppliers and the logistics sector. The Czech Republic is at least as important as northern Italy for passenger car production at German factories.

    BGL board spokesman Prof. Dirk Engelhardt underscored:

    “The BGL calls for a practicable testing strategy for freight transport as soon as possible. Those who demand negative coronavirus tests from truck drivers before they enter the country, with no exceptions, must also explain where these tests can be carried out.

    “In addition to testing centers on the borders, which must be set up without delay, rapid tests should be accepted from truck drivers without a medical certificate. Otherwise, not only will many supermarket shelves remain empty because there are not enough freight drivers, but the assembly lines – also in the auto industry in particular – will come to a standstill because they can no longer be supplied.”


    Eckehart Rotter, VDA – Communication and Media, tel.: +49 30 897842-120, e-mail: eckehart.rotter@vda.de

    Martin Bulheller, BGL, Head of publicity and economic monitoring, tel.: +49 69 7919-277, e-mail: bulheller@bgl-ev.de