German car maker Volkswagen plans to make its new factory investment in either Turkey or Bulgaria to manufacture gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles. At the beginning of this year, the automotive giant Volkswagen Group announced that it would build a new factory in Eastern Europe to manufacture the conventional engine (gasoline/diesel) versions of some of its major models, as it would produce electric vehicles in its German factories due to the emission limitation in Europe. The German group also agreed with American Ford to produce light commercial vehicles at Ford Otosan plants in Turkey. The number of candidate countries for the new factory to be established by VW in Eastern Europe to manufacture automobiles started with around five options and decreased to two over time, leaving only Turkey and Bulgaria on the table at the moment.
For the last couple of months, Volkswagen officials have been shuttling between Bulgaria and Turkey, meeting with officials and visiting potential sites. Germany's leading newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that VW Chairman Herbert Diess came to Turkey last Wednesday to discuss the infrastructure of the factory they wanted to build near Izmir (Manisa). In his statement to FAZ, Diess said Turkey was an attractive country for investment, adding as VW executives, they met with top-level officials in this regard.
In other words, it is understood that Diess went directly to Ankara on Wednesday and met with government officials one-on-one, finalizing the latest talks. It was also reported that it was not his first visit to Turkey in the recent period and that Diess had come and established contacts many times before. Most significantly, the chances of settling the investment in favor of Turkey within 14 days are very high. In addition, rather than Seat Ateca and Skoda Karoq, much more prominent models are expected to be manufactured in the new factory.
Meanwhile, it is noted that the factory will be located in Manisa with a production capacity of 300,000 units. According to FAZ, the investment amount could reach 2 billion euros.
The next two weeks are very critical. Some sources say that Bulgaria does not have much chance because of the domestic market conditions. As a reminder, the latest major automotive investments in Turkey were made in 1997 with Toyota and Honda. Apart from the investments of the existing factories, no new brand has come to Turkey for 22 years. At this point, the arrival of Volkswagen, which has been the subject of discussion for the last 10 to 15 years, is of great importance for the Turkish automotive industry, especially if high value-added vehicles, such as the Passat and Superb, are manufactured.