The Volkswagen Group had ordered medical supplies in China in mid-March in order to donate them to doctors and hospitals in Germany. A large part of this donation was already handed over to the German government and the state of Lower Saxony for distribution to hospitals and doctors over the past few weeks. The donation by Volkswagen to the state of Lower Saxony included 3.4 million masks, 2.5 million pairs of gloves, 80,000 protective goggles, 120,000 sets of protective clothing, almost 4,000 infrared thermometers and 140,000 liters of disinfectants.
Stephan Weil, Minister-President of Lower Saxony: “The coronavirus crisis poses a tremendous challenge for our state, its economy and society as a whole. In the course of crisis management to date, we have had to perform many tasks and overcome many problems. In this critical situation, Volkswagen expressed its close relationship with its location in Lower Saxony with generous donations of goods and many types of practical support. The Group and the many employees involved in providing this assistance deserve our sincere recognition and gratitude. The state government highly appreciates this commitment to Lower Saxony.”
Gunnar Kilian, Human Resources Board Member of Volkswagen: “For Volkswagen, it was clear from the beginning of the crisis that we wanted to support the public health system and the outstanding dedication of medical personnel in Germany. This is why we immediately used our good contacts and partnership with China to donate and organize medical supplies in the volumes required. Furthermore, we also released our medical personnel to help with the fight against COVID-19 on a voluntary basis. This would all have been impossible without the full support of our colleagues from the company health service and our procurement, finance and logistics departments. I would like to thank our team most sincerely for their dedication. They have really achieved a great deal.”
Dr. Thomas Steg, Head of External Relations: “As a good corporate citizen, it goes without saying that Volkswagen must help. A crisis of this magnitude, unique in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, calls for special commitment from everyone – Volkswagen has played its part in supporting the health service. This final consignment is the culmination of a cooperation that demonstrates impressively what we can achieve together for society in the event of a crisis.”
In addition to the donation, Volkswagen assisted the Federal Ministry of Health with the purchase of 100 million face masks via its contacts with suppliers in China. The total volume of goods shipped to Germany was 8,000 cubic meters. This included the donation, with a total value of €40 million, direct supplies to the federal government, with Volkswagen assuming responsibility for logistics services, and equipment required by Volkswagen itself in connection with the COVID-19 crisis. The goods were carried by air freight, with a total of 50 flights organized by Volkswagen Group Logistics with its service providers.
The Group has also provided a variety of support in connection with the COVID-19 crisis in addition to the donation. For example, Volkswagen South Africa converted a former factory in Port Elizabeth into a temporary coronavirus hospital with up to 3,300 beds with the support of the German government. The first section of the hospital was handed over to the local authorities in mid-June after only seven weeks of construction.
Other activities included a donation of €1 million to the Red Cross and its local partners for refugee camps in Syria, Turkey and Greece. Volkswagen Group China donated about €15.5 million to Chinese hospitals and provinces. Audi and Porsche each provided donations of €5 million to aid projects.
Group brands such as Audi, Bentley, Porsche, ŠKODA and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles provided vehicles and drivers. ŠKODA donated 100 Octavia vehicles. Scania’s truck trailers and drivers assisted with the distribution of supplies and MAN employees also distributed food parcels.
Throughout the Volkswagen Group, 3-D printing processes have been used to produce thousands of face shields and holders, masks and items of medical equipment, for example at SEAT and Lamborghini.