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Volkswagen in dispute with Mexican farmers over hailstorms protection

Staff Writer |
A practice employed by automotive manufacturer Volkswagen México to protect its new vehicles from hailstorms has led to a dispute with local farmers, who claim their crops are being damaged.

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But now the Puebla state government has announced it will intervene to look for a solution.

Farmers blocked access to Volkswagen’s assembly plant in the state earlier this month to protest against the German auto maker’s use of hail cannons, which they claim has caused a drought that has affected their crops.

Volkswagen (VW) started using the shockwave generators in June to prevent new vehicles, which are parked in an outdoor lot, from being damaged by the falling ice pellets. The practice purportedly disrupts the formation of hailstones.

But farmers from the municipalities of Puebla, Amozoc and Cuautlancingo — where the plant is located — say the cannons have stopped not only hail from falling but also rain and as a consequence their crops, covering at least 2,000 hectares, have suffered.

They are asking for 73 million pesos ($3.8 million) in compensation.

The Puebla government said it will meet with both the factory’s management and the affected famers to reach an agreement.


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