21 Jun, 2024

VW to halt T-Roc output in Portugal

Volkswagen will pause production of the T-Roc small crossover, its top seller in Europe, after heavy floods disrupted engine parts supplies.

Output of other models across the automaker’s European factory network may also be hit after a supplier in Slovenia was impacted by flooding in the country.

VW will halt T-Roc output at its Autoeuropa plant in Setubal, Portugal between Sept. 11 and Nov. 12, the factory workers’ commission said on Thursday.

It said the company would temporarily lay off staff during this time, but that the situation as it stands now should not have a negative impact on workers’ income.

Floods have severely affected a Slovenian company that supplies engine parts for the T-Roc, according to an internal memo sent to the 5,000 employees at the plant near Lisbon.

The supplier affected by the flooding was only able to deliver an order to a limited extent, a VW spokesperson told the DPA German press agency

VW Group said it is “working with other suppliers to find alternatives to return to normal production in the affected plants as quickly as possible.”

VW did not name the supplier. Slovenian press reports say the company is KLS Ljubno, a gear rings manufacturer

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SUVs surge to new milestone helped by EVs

The SUV is now the dominant body type across Europe. Figures for 2023 reveal that combined volumes for models such as the Tesla Model Y and the Volkswagen T-Roc accounted for more than half of all sales in the region for the first time.

SUVs outpaced the market, with sales rising 19 percent last year to 6.63 million to take a 51 percent share of a European vehicle market that rose 14 percent overall, figures from market researcher Dataforce show.

The Model Y premium midsize SUV was Europe’s No. 1-seller overall.

Small, compact cars fall

SUVs have eclipsed Europe’s traditional hatchback and wagon body styles.

The small SUV segment was Europe’s largest last year with nearly 2.2 million sales followed by compact SUVs at more than 1.9 million, according to the Dataforce figures.

The biggest growth among SUVs last year came from the premium segment.

Sales of premium midsize SUVs increased 31 percent to 843,939, which made it Europe’s fifth-largest segment. The biggest contributors were the Model Y, which grew 85 percent to 254,822, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC’s 32 percent sales gain to 91,259.

Also seeing strong growth in the sixth spot was the premium compact SUV segment, which rose

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