INTERNATIONAL – Volkswagen has increased stockpiles of cars in Britain, it said on Wednesday, as politicians struggle to nail down the terms of the country’s departure from the European Union ahead of an October 31 deadline.
The potential for a disorderly “no deal” Brexit, and concerns about future trading relations, are forcing companies to take measures to mitigate the impact of potential tariffs.
"We have optimised inventory levels upwards to delay the impact of potential import tariffs for a while, but there are limits to what can be done," Juergen Stackmann, management board member of the VW passenger cars brand with responsibility for sales and marketing, told Reuters.
Stackmann added, "If there are tariffs, we will not be able to absorb them or compensate the cost. We need to be realistic about the fact that cars would get more expensive for customers."
Recently, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) reached a historical milestone on September 6, when the 200 000th unit of the current VW Polo rolled off the production line at the Uitenhage plant.
The VWSA production plant has been manufacturing Polos since 1996, when it started local production on the Polo Classic.
Over the past 23 years it has produced a variety of Polo models, with the current Polo starting local production in 2018.
Of the 200 000 new Polos that have been manufactured, 153 582 units were exported and 46 418 were produced for the local market.In total, Volkswagen has manufactured 1 053 600 vehicles for export since 1994.
The plant has manufactured 110 265 vehicles between January and August 2019, which includes the Polo, Polo Vivo and Polo GTI.