A Polish newspaper – Rzeczpospolita – reports that Volkswagen is considering a cut to its Polish investment plans due to problems associated with property rights at the site where it wants to build a new van. Operations in the Czech Republic could benefit from such a move.

The report says that the property in question is owned by Poland’s ‘Customs Office’, which hasn’t yet transferred the rights to Volkswagen.

Last year, Volkswagen announced plans to build a new commercial vehicle exclusively in Poland at Poznan with annual output as high as 130,000, starting in 2003.

The model, code-named VW357, also is dubbed A5-SLW or simply SLW for ‘Stadtlieferwagen’ (‘city delivery van’ in German). It is expected to compete in the lightest segment of commercial vehicles, especially targeting Citroen Berlingo, Fiat Doblo, Peugeot Partner and Renault Kangoo with commercial and passenger variants.

It is understood that the car carmaker is considering shifting production to the Czech Republic, where it could expand its existing plant.

The news of a possible change of plan could, however, be a tactic employed by Volkswagen to speed things up in Poland.

That said, Poland has lately looked less attractive to foreign investors generally. Its much-vaunted new middle class no longer seems to be growing and after years of dazzling economic growth, Poland appears to have hit a wall. Foreign investment is falling and unemployment rising.

The government of the ex-communist Democratic Left, led by Leszek Miller, knew as much when it took office after winning the general election last September.

State finances are in disarray and negotiations to join the EU have stalled. After poring over the books, the government now says things are even worse than expected.