German carmaker Volkswagen has confirmed a heavy end-of-July hailstorm in the region of the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg has left thousands of new cars damaged. Customers will now have to be patient.
A hailstorm in late July with stones the size of golf balls not only damaged thousands of homes in the Wolfsburg region in northern Germany, but it also left a large number of vehicles with broken windshields, dents, dings and scratches.
The aftermath is continuing to give Europe's largest carmaker headaches as it struggles to keep up with customer demand.
The DPA news agency reported on Friday that the hailstorm affected a total of 28,000 cars in the region, with a significant proportion being new vehicles from VW's production facility in Wolfsburg.
Volkswagen said the company had started very time-consuming checks on the affected vehicles.
"No car will be handed over to customers without a thorough quality and damage control," the firm promised.
Clients reported being told they could buy repaired new cars at discount prices, if they so wished. Or they would have to agree to stay in a waiting line until newly produced vehicles would be available for them.
VW was said to have resorted to external help for the damage checks so as not to impact regular production procedures at its Wolfsburg base where 3,800 new cars leave the assembly lines every day.
The cost of the hailstorm-related damage is expected amount to millions of euros, but Volkswagen said it was fully insured against such risk.
This wasn't VW's first encounter with such damage. Back in 2008, the carmaker reported some 30,000 vehicles parked in the open were dented in the German town of Emden, one of Europe's main car transportation ports.
hg/pfd (dpa, Reuters)