Winter is coming. Volkswagen is cracking the efficiency whip on its domestic plants, which need to boost efficiency to match overseas factories, production chief Andreas Tostmann was quoted as saying, reported by Reuters.

The German giant is targeting two billion euros worth of savings by 2023. “The pace of improvement is better abroad. In Germany, despite all the successes we’ve achieved, we have to do better,” Tostmann told trade journal Automobilwoche.

He’s seeking to implement the savings in the production of VW brand cars through a bundle of measures on top of automation, including a leaner logistics operation. “The result is that we need 15% less space, 60% fewer logistics vehicles and are able to move 20% more product,” Tostmann said in the interview.

This remark comes as German carmakers announced thousands of job cuts in recent weeks. It’s to address an expected 5% drop in global auto sales this year, with declines likely to spill into 2020. Investment in electric cars is usually the cited reason. VW brand Audi said last month that it would cut up to 9,500 jobs until 2025.

“In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient. This will increase productivity and sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of our German plants,” Audi CEO Bram Schot said last month. The six billion euros generated from the move “will flow into future projects such as electrification and digitalisation,” Audi said.

Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and big German auto suppliers Continental, Bosch and Osram have also recently announced staff and cost cuts.

Last month, Volkswagen’s board approved a €60 billion (RM275.7 billion) investment into hybridisation, electric mobility and digitalisation over the next five years. The group also plans to introduce 75 all-electric models across its range of brands by 2029, along with 60 hybrids.