What happened

Shares of German auto giant Volkswagen AG (VWAGY -2.15%) were down on Friday after its CEO told a German television channel that the company is burning billions while its factories are idled and may soon have to cut jobs.

VW's Frankfurt-listed shares were down more than 7% in late trading on Friday. As of 12:00 p.m. EDT, VW's American depositary shares were down about 6.9% from Thursday's closing price.

So what

In a talk-show interview on German television channel ZDF, CEO Herbert Diess said that even with most of its factories idled, Volkswagen is still spending about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) per week. The company might soon have to cut jobs if the coronavirus pandemic is not brought under control, he said.

VW's assembly plant in Chattanooga, viewed from the air.

VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will be idled until at least April 4, the company confirmed this week. Image source: Volkswagen AG.

Diess said that VW, which employs about 671,000 people around the world, isn't making any sales outside of China, where its factories are getting back up to speed as the threat of the virus fades. VW is looking at how it might reopen some of its factories elsewhere without endangering workers, he said.

Diess's remarks on ZDF were reported by Reuters.

VW announced production halts at all of its European factories on March 16. It has also closed its plants in the United States, Mexico, and other parts of the world.

Now what

As with most companies right now, it's impossible to predict what lies ahead. VW reported strong 2019 earnings on March 17 but declined to update its guidance to auto investors at that time. The company said that it will provide an updated outlook for 2020 later in the year.