BERLIN -- Volkswagen Group should consider taking stakes in key suppliers to protect itself from supply chain disruption, the automaker's labor boss, Bernd Osterloh, told a German news agency.
His comments came after two partsmakers caused production stoppages at six of VW's German factories by refusing to deliver components because of a contract dispute.
"Because of what we experienced in the past days, we may now possibly need an additional alert system to further reduce those risks for Volkswagen," Osterloh told the Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA).
"A conceivable approach are minority stakes or options to buy," he said.
VW and the two suppliers on Tuesday resolved a dispute affecting 28,000 workers at six of VW's 10 German factories. A day earlier VW was forced to halt production of its Golf and Passat models as well as assembly of engines, gearboxes and emissions systems.
Osterloh, a member of VW's supervisory board, referred to Toyota Motor for possible lessons on how an investment in parts makers can help a carmaker to better control its supply chain.
"Toyota has holdings in many of its suppliers," he said. "I am not saying that VW should now seek stakes in all of its suppliers. But with regard to vulnerable parts [of the business], this might be a possibility."
VW declined to comment.
VW suppliers Car Trim and ES Automobilguss last week stopped deliveries of seat covers and cast iron parts for gearboxes, triggering stoppages after VW had cancelled a contract without notice and refused to pay 58 million euros of compensation, sources said.
VW expects production of its Golf and Passat models in Germany to be back to normal by Monday following a compromise which will see the suppliers, both part of Bosnia's Prevent group, work with VW for at least another six years.
VW said the impact of production stoppages on staff hours caused by the dispute has been significantly reduced thanks to internal remedies.
The company said it will take advantage of "internal flexibilization measures" at five of six plants affected by supply chain problems to cushion the impact of output disruptions on working hours.