As the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan proved, natural disasters can have a very disruptive effect on business and commerce that can sometimes take months if not years to fully recover. Porsche is finding itself at the mercy of rains and flooding in central Europe, affecting Bavaria, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Flooding is interrupting rail service between the Volkswagen Group's Bratislava, Slovakia, plant, where the Porsche Cayenne's bodies are made, and the final assembly line in Leipzig, approximately 360 miles northwest. Until flooding recedes and rail service can resume, production at the plant will be halted. Plant representatives said they would restart production based on logistics developments.
With the bodies for the popular performance-luxury SUV built off-site, the Leipzig plant is potentially vulnerable to supply disruptions. Last July, Porsche announced a $629 million investment in the Leipzig plant to prepare for production of the upcoming Macan compact SUV, as well as bringing production of the Cayenne's bodies on-site to Leipzig.
Preassembly of the Panamera sedan, also built at Leipzig, will continue for the time being. Panamera bodies are sourced from the Volkswagen Group's plant in Hanover, Germany, 164 miles northwest of Leipzig.
At least 16 people have died so far from the flooding. Thousands in Germany and the Czech Republic have been evacuated or relocated due to flooding of the Elbe and Danube rivers.