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VWSA forced to slash production

2007-01-26 09:23
Johannesburg - Volkswagen South Africa said on Thursday it was cutting back on production after losing car parts on a ship grounded off the southern English coast.

Looters made away with everything from car parts to BMW motorbikes and nappies as wreckage littered the beach after MSC Napoli was purposely grounded last Saturday to prevent it sinking at sea amid storms.

The vessel was supposed to unload almost half of its 2 400 containers at South African ports in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban, said Mike Vanhear, Johannesburg's manager for MSC, one of the world's largest shipping lines.

The total value of the cargo was still to be calculated, he said.

VWSA said it would shut production at its South African plant every Friday for at least the next four weeks after vehicle parts needed for four car models - the Citi Golf, Polo, Golf and Jetta - were lost, a company spokeswoman said.

The reduced production would affect about two thirds of Volkswagen's 6 500 domestic workforce, the spokeswoman said.

She declined to say whether the change would disturb sales.

"We will review the situation on an ongoing basis," she said.

BMW South Africa said it had 39 motorbikes and back-up vehicle parts on board.

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