Volkswagen furloughs entire workforce in Chattanooga as coronavirus slams economy

Workers will still receive health care benefits and bonuses during the furlough period.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Volkswagen Chattanooga plant rendering
Enlarge Image
Volkswagen Chattanooga plant rendering

VW says the furloughs won't last longer than four weeks.


As the coronavirus leaves the vast majority of the US at home and away from work, companies are starting to take more drastic measures to protect their financial well-being, and unfortunately, such actions struck on Thursday.

The automaker said it will furlough its production and maintenance workforces at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. VW admitted it's not clear when it will be able to resume normal operations at the plant, but the furlough period won't last longer than four weeks, the company assured. Roadshow clarified with VW this is the company's entire production and maintenance workforce, and not a portion.

While thousands of workers will lose their pay, VW will continue to pay health care benefits for each employee. In addition, each will still receive their quarterly bonuses as well as a monthly bonus for March as scheduled. Aside from the bonuses, VW notified workers they'll be eligible for state unemployment benefits and an extra $600 per week thanks to the CARES Act -- the $2 trillion emergency aid bill that passed Congress just a few weeks ago.

2020 Volkswagen Jetta: Better, not just bigger

See all photos

When workers do return, the company also assured workers they'll retain their original start date and all paid time off they'd previously accrued.

For any VW workers working remotely, they will not be part of the furloughs. However, the automaker will make each take one vacation day.

VW shut down its Chattanooga plant on March 21 to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Numerous other automakers have issued work stoppages, and across the US, the virus took down 93% of all auto production.

Watch this: 2019 Volkswagen Atlas: A wise (and wide) SUV choice