FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group may have to cut jobs if the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control as the automaker is still spending about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) a week, CEO Herbert Diess told German TV channel ZDF.
VW is not making any sales outside of China and is looking for ways to resume production elsewhere that wouldn't endanger its staff, Diess told the Markus Lanz talk show on Thursday.
"We are not making sales or revenues outside of China," Diess said, adding that VW still had to cover a high level of fixed costs of "around 2 billion euros a week."
"We need to rethink production. We do not yet have the discipline that we had in China at our German locations," he said. "Only if we, like China, Korea or other Asian states, get the problem under control then we have a chance to come through the crisis without job losses. It requires a very sharp intervention," Diess said.
Demand in China is picking up again but production is only at half the level prior to the crisis, he said.
The automaker working on ways to resume manufacturing with workers maintaining safe distances from one another, including by stepping up hygiene and disinfecting, Diess said.
VW employs 671,000 people and has 124 factories around the world of which 72 are in Europe, with 28 in Germany alone. It suspended production in Europe earlier this month because of the pandemic.
VW Group owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat and Skoda brands. The group sold 10.96 million vehicles last year. It also produces Ducati motorbikes as well as MAN and Scania trucks.