Mexican farmers blame Volkswagen for drought near assembly plant


On eve of strike deadline for 9,000 VW workers

Mexican farmers blame Volkswagen for drought near assembly plant

Alex González

18 August 2018

Local residents of the central Mexican state of Puebla have accused the German automaker Volkswagen of causing droughts near the company’s assembly plant. The company started using hail cannons to supposedly disrupt the formation of hailstones in the atmosphere, aiming to protect the newly assembled vehicles that sit in outdoor parking lots. However, the devices have reportedly reduced precipitation in the area, threatening the agricultural production of over 100,000 people.

Residents in seven towns collectively demanded that the state and federal governments take action against the automaker. “The company is protecting their cars, their product, and we, the farmers of the region, with more than 100,000 inhabitants, are being harmed. The government is protecting the Volkswagen plant, which is a business, and they are hurting the population. … Now the harvests in the region have been lost, and we don’t have any hope, everything is dry because of a lack of water.”

The Volkswagen assembly plant in Puebla employs over 13,000 workers and is the company’s second largest in the world. The facility produces the Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Tiguan models from start to finish, from stamping to final assembly. Since the plant was built in 1967, it has produced over 11 million vehicles, with about 80 percent bound for the world market. Puebla is also home to over 80 auto parts companies, employing over 20,000 people.

The “anti-hail” devices, which the company started using in June, are deployed when there is a rain forecast and send loud and repeated sonic blasts every four to ten seconds until the storm has passed. There is no…

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