VW must park its cars at BER airport

The diesel scandal leads to a shortage of parking spaces at VW: many new cars can only enter the market when the new exhaust test has been introduced. The group takes an unusual step.

The new emissions test for cars continues to pose problems for German manufacturers – now there is also a shortage of parking spaces. Volkswagen therefore wants to use the empty BER at Berlin breakdown airport to park vehicles already produced, but not yet approved, with delivery delays, as a VW spokesperson said.

When exactly the first cars are expected to arrive BER is still open. BER is expected to enter service in 2020 – nine years late. Construction faults, poor planning and technical issues have destroyed every opening date.

The large unused airport only served as a large parking lot last year. After Air Berlin went bankrupt, the unused plane of what was once Germany’s second-largest airline sat on the tarmac for weeks. There are also several car parks in front of the terminal which are seldom used.

New measurement method for delivery tests

WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) is a new measurement method for exhaust gas testing on cars, which aims to ensure more realistic values. From September 1, only new cars that have passed it can be registered. For manufacturers, this means that even models that have been on the market for a few years have to be re-certified under more stringent conditions. And this also for a number of different variations of a model.

VW therefore pre-produced many cars that were built in such a way that the new test procedure could be created – but they have yet to be released. Across the group, the change could cause delays in the delivery of 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles, the spokesperson said. A part will be parked in the rented car parks. In addition to BER, VW is currently using its own test site at Ehra-Lessien near Wolfsburg, and the rental of additional space is also under consideration.

For VW, the lack of parking space is not the only problem with WLTP. After the factory vacation is over, production at the main Wolfsburg factory is to be shut down weekly for one to two days by the end of September. At the Zwickau plant, certain shutdown days are scheduled for the third quarter and shifts are no longer required.

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