Bulgaria and Turkey compete for the new Volkswagen industrial plant

The important factory represents an unprecedented investment and will create 5,000 new jobs.

In November 2018 the German company Volkswagen announced its intentions to build a new industrial plant in a Balkan country.

As time passed, the authorities and the press of Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia stoked the rumors and the dispute for hosting this important factory.

The creation of a new plant in the Balkans is linked to the plans of change and cost savings that Volkswagen aims for.

These plans also contemplate the possibility of cutting between 5,000 and 7,000 jobs at its plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. The main reason would be related to the production of new electric cars that, according to representatives of the administration, requires 30% less time and work.

The automotive industry in Europe is in a difficult moment: Companies must invest in research and new technologies such as new electric cars, which at the beginning will not leave much profit.

To face this challenge, Volkswagen decided to implement a change in the production of its vehicles in the European continent. In this way, it will transform three industrial plants in Germany to adapt them to the production of the new electric cars. These are the Zwickau, Emdem and Hannover factories.

Meanwhile, the production of the Passat model will be transferred to the plant in the city Kvasiny, Czech Republic. The models that are currently produced in that Czech factory (Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca) will be the ones that happen to be produced in the new Balkan plant, as well as other models that will be incorporated over time.

Skoda Karoq
Skoda Karoq.

As soon as the news became known, government authorities from the countries involved contacted Volkswagen executives to find the right location for the new factory.

Bulgaria highlighted its political stability, growing economy, cooperation with Germany and its status as a member of the European Union as advantages to welcome the huge investment.

Crossing the border, in Serbia, authorities also contacted Volkswagen. The site mentioned by the Serbs was Kragujevac, where there is currently a Fiat plant that could be abandoned, leaving a large free space and many workers with great experience in the industry unemployed.

The countries of Romania and North Macedonia were also mentioned as possible destinations for the new plant.

Seat Ateca
Seat Ateca.

Volkswagen will decide Bulgaria or Turkey next October

On May 14 a meeting of the board of directors of Volkswagen took place, where he decided to start a conversation with some cities in Bulgaria and Turkey.

This fact aroused the rumor that the company would no longer be interested in other countries and that the final investment may be in Bulgaria or Turkey.

The German automaker needs a huge site, with availability of industrial electricity, gas and water. The place must be connected by freeway and railways, in addition to being near an airport and urban centers where skilled labor is available.

Bulgaria presented as possible candidates the places of Kremikovtzi and Rakovski. Kremikovtzi lies 20 kilometers northeast of Sofia and is a place of about 4,000 acres (1,618 hectares) where metallurgical factories once operated. The place meets virtually all of Volkswagen’s requirements.

Meanwhile, Rakovski is a modern industrial park located 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Plovdiv.

Kremikovtsi, Bulgaria
Kremikovtsi, Bulgaria.

The sites presented by Turkey are Izmir and Gölcük. Izmir is a city located on the shores of the Aegean Sea, in the west of the country. The possible site has an area of 1,853 acres (750 hectares) with a modern industrial development and the presence of several suppliers of automotive components.

While the second site is Gölcük, 120 kilometers from Istanbul, where Ford currently manufactures light cars and where Volkswagen considers producing vans in association with the aforementioned American manufacturer.

The new industrial plant of Volkswagen will be operational by the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023, will produce about 1,000 vehicles a day, that is around 360,000 vehicles a year and will generate 5,000 new jobs. It is an investment of 1,400 million euros, probably one of the most important in the history of these countries.

The final destination of the new Volkswagen industrial plant will be known in the month of October.

Source: Volkswagen, Mediapool.bg, FinancialObserver.eu. Images: Richard Bartz, André Karwath Aka, Vauxford, Jakub “Flyz1” Maciejewski, Edal Anton Lefterov.
Iani Nikolov
News Reporter

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