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April 16, 2019

VW whittles plant sites to Bulgaria and Turkey – reports

Volkswagen reportedly has whittled down potential south east Europe factory locations to two countries, according to Bulgarian and German media reports.

By Olly Wehring

Volkswagen reportedly has whittled down potential south east Europe factory locations to two countries, according to Bulgarian and German media reports.

Citing the DPA news agency and business daily Handelsblatt, seenews.com said the automaker’s supervisory board would choose between Bulgaria and Turkey after Easter [this weekend]. 

The report noted Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic last March said Volkswagen would choose from Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Turkey as new car plant locations.

According to Handelsblatt, lower labour costs compared to Germany are the main advantage of both Turkey and Bulgaria.

But VW’s powerful works council wants the company to reinvest in existing plants rather than opening new facilities.

Handelsblatt said a VW delegation inspected a German language kindergarten in Sofia, Bulgaria, a day before the official visit of German federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the country on 4 April.

In November, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess had said the company was looking for a location for a EUR1.4bn euro ($1.6bn) multi-brand factory in eastern Europe which was expected to start production after 2022.

The company planned to shift Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca SUV production to the new factory, which would employ 5,000, from a plant in Kvasiny, Czech Republic, Diess said last year.

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