VW’s EV Frenzy Bites Back

Volkswagen I.D. EV concept is on display at CES International Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Volkswagen shares dipped Wednesday after the company issued an overnight profit warning and announced it was considering the potential closure of an Audi plant in Brussels.

The company has now lowered the forecast for its operating return on sales to a 6.5% to 7% range, from 7% to 7.5% previously.

It noted that is also considering the restructuring or potential shutdown of its Audi plant in Brussels, where it employs 3,000 people, on the back of weak demand for the Audi Q8 e-tron line — a fully electric offering from the brand, launched in 2019.

Automakers have contended with waning EV demand, with European brands facing the compounded challenge of a wave of discounted, state-subsidized rival vehicles produced in China. The EU earlier this month began to implement provisional tariffs on EVs imported from China, as a result.

If it presses ahead, this would mark Volkswagen’s first factory shutdown in nearly four decades, since the 1988 closure of its plant in the Westmoreland site in Alabama.

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