On 27 September 2023, Volkswagen (VW) experienced a major IT disruption that shut down production at several of the group’s plants. The Audi subsidiary was also affected by the disruption.
Central infrastructure paralysed
According to a report in the “Handelsblatt” newspaper, the IT disruption affected the central infrastructure of the Volkswagen Group. In response, the group has convened a crisis team to determine the cause of the disruption and find a solution.
A spokesperson for the group confirmed that network components at the Wolfsburg site are affected and that this disruption has been in place since 12:30 pm. While the reason for the system disruption is still being analysed, an external attack is unlikely as the cause so far.
Impaired plants and far-reaching consequences
According to the company, production at the main plant in Wolfsburg as well as in Emden, Osnabrück and Zwickau are affected. Component plants in Kassel, Braunschweig and Salzgitter are also experiencing shutdowns. At the headquarters in Wolfsburg, business is also affected, which shows how far-reaching the effects of the disruption are.
The Audi subsidiary has also been hit by the IT disruption, underlining its global reach.
Unknown cause and global impact
An IT service provider responsible for the company’s networks confirmed that it was a worldwide disruption. “Everywhere the belts have been at a standstill since this afternoon – all over the world. Audi and VW are affected,” she told the German press agency dpa, stressing that it was a “huge problem”. She predicts that the disruption will keep the IT department busy until at least Thursday. Currently, both simple technical glitches and a potential hacker attack are possible causes.
The IT disruption at Volkswagen demonstrates the increasing dependence of companies on their digital infrastructure and highlights the importance of robust IT security. While the cause and duration of the disruption are still uncertain, it is clear that the incident has significant implications for the group and its global operations.