ZF damper plant in western Germany to be impacted for months due to flooding

Europe

It will take ZF Friedrichshafen months to return to full production capacity at a suspension parts factory in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, after flooding caused damages estimated to be in the millions of euros.

All of the plant’s assembly lines, which make specialized valves for damping systems, have to be rebuilt.

In the interim, ZF will manually assemble the parts, which will affect deliveries to the supplier’s customers in Europe, a spokesman told Automotive News Europe, declining to name which automakers the plant serves.

He believes that ZF’s customers in North America will not be impacted.

ZF added in a statement that it is is conducting detailed analyses with affected customers on how to avoid restricting vehicle production.

Power and phone lines are down in the area and multiple roads are impassable, making it difficult to start the cleanup.

Water from the Ahr River rose as high as 2 meters (6.6 feet) in the factory, forcing employees working the night shift on July 14 into July 15 to flee to higher ground within the facility, the spokesman said.

There were no deaths or injuries at the plant, which is 32 km (about 20 miles) south of Bonn.

Flash floods have killed more than 180 people in Germany this month, with scores of people still unaccounted for.

ZF’s other plants in Germany were not damaged, but the company’s supply of steel and other materials has been impacted because so many road and rail lines were washed out by the floods, the spokesman said.

ZF ranks No. 3 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $33.4 billion in 2020.

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