“Since the beginning of 2021, 57 work shifts have already been cancelled due to the lack of semiconductors and the closure of schools in January, which corresponds to about 17,340 cars lost,” says an internal company statement to which Lusa news agency had access.

“Adding what was not produced in 2020, the losses due to the pandemic already add up to about 70,000 cars,” the document adds.

Autoeuropa, with over 5,000 employees, 98 percent of whom have permanent contracts, produced a total of 192,000 cars and 20 million parts for other factories of the German group in 2020, which represent 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 4.7 percent of Portuguese exports.

The T-Roc and the MPV are the two car models currently produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Palmela.

In the same statement, the management of the Palmela plant, in the district of Setúbal, informs employees that 17 June remains a normal production day, and that the announced suspension will begin on 18 June, with production resuming at 00:00 on 28 June.

In addition to the forced stoppages or reduction of activity due to Covid-19, the Autoeuropa plant, as is the case throughout the automotive industry, has been faced with a shortage of semiconductors, which also results in large part from the high consumption of electronic products at a time of pandemic.