Volkswagen weighs closure of Audi Brussels plant as luxury EV sales plummet

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In the heart of Brussels, Volkswagen’s iconic Audi factory stands at a crossroads. Amidst the gleaming production lines and cutting-edge technology, a shadow looms. Europe’s top carmaker, Volkswagen, has hinted at a drastic step: the potential closure of this flagship plant. This comes as a startling response to the plummeting demand for luxury electric vehicles (EVs) in 2024, despite Audi’s efforts to introduce new models at more accessible prices.

The financial implications of repurposing or shutting down the Brussels plant are staggering. Volkswagen estimates a significant financial hit of approximately €2.6 billion for the 2024 fiscal year. This anticipated cost has already reverberated through the company’s projections, with expected returns dropping from 7.5% to 6.5%. The ripple effect has also impacted Porsche SE, another member of the VW group, which has slashed its forecast from €5.5 billion to €3.5 billion. Following these revelations, shares of both Porsche and VW experienced a notable decline.

Inside sources suggest that the production of Audi’s Q8 e-tron 2025 might come to an abrupt halt, largely due to waning consumer interest. The Brussels factory, home to nearly 3,000 employees, has been grappling with persistent challenges, such as layout restructuring issues leading to heightened production costs. The site has also faced unforeseen financial burdens, including exchange rate losses from the deconsolidation of Volkswagen Bank Rus and the closure of MAN Energy Solutions, a gas turbine enterprise.

The first half of 2024 has not been kind to Volkswagen, with operating profits plummeting by 20%, partly due to delivery delays stemming from a two-week shutdown of the Audi plant in February. Component shortages further exacerbated these delays. In light of these difficulties, Audi has initiated a consultation process at the Brussels factory, warning employees of the potential cessation of operations if a viable alternative is not found.

(Source: Automotive News Europe | Euro News)

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