Bulgaria’s capital Sofia is reportedly placed as favorite among the potential destinations for Volkswagen’s (VW) new car manufacturing plant, according to unofficial information from specialized publication Automobilwoche, quoted by local media. The information differs from another unofficial information, recently released by German newspaper Handelsblatt, indicating that Turkey is expected to win the investment by offering VW an investment aid of more than EUR 100mn. Automobilwoche said that internal company talks on the acquisition of a production site near Sofia have been already held and a preliminary decision on whether Bulgaria or Turkey will be the new location sites will be taken by the beginning of July. The publication also noted that VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg will be in charge of the final decision, contrary to previous information that its Skoda subsidiary will have the final say. A lot of Austrian banks and investors were reportedly interested and participating in VW’s negotiations with Bulgaria, according to Automobilwoche. On the contrary, Handelsblatt had said that a number of German politicians allegedly supported the selection of Turkey for the investment.
As we reported, Volkswagen announced its plans for investing in a new car manufacturing plant in Eastern Europe for over EUR1.4bn at the end of 2018. The investment will open at least 5,000 jobs in the beginning. Initially, the plant was supposed to be focused on assembling Skoda Karoq and SEAT Ateca cars, moving their production from Skoda’s plant in the Czech Republic to Eastern Europe. A new unofficial information from the past few days suggested instead that the plant will be multi-brand and will produce other VW brands, including Volkswagen Passat. Its capacity is set to be 360,000 car units per year. The plant is expected to become operational in 2022.