Turkey disappointed as Volkswagen opts for Poland

Turkey disappointed as Volkswagen opts for Poland

Turkey disappointed as Volkswagen opts for Poland

German automaker Volkswagen AG has decided to move its van production operations from Germany to Poland, dashing Turkey’s hopes to host the carmaker. REUTERS photo

Turkey has been left disappointed after German car-making giant Volkswagen announced plans to establish a van production plant in Poland.

Ending months of enthusiastic wait, the automaker announced it would spend nearly 3.4 billion zlotys ($1.1 billion) on a new factory to build the Crafter delivery van in Poland, moving output out of high-cost Germany in the company’s biggest-ever commercial vehicle project.

With construction due to start at the end of 2014, the new plant in Wrzesnia, Poland, will employ more than 2,300 people and start assembling the Crafter model in the second half of 2016, VW said March 18.

Last year, then-Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan had claimed Volkswagen was undecided between Turkey and Poland over where to produce its new light commercial vehicle.

Production of the Crafter is currently based at two German plants of rival Daimler, which have been making the van since 2005 under a co-operation accord with VW that is due to expire at the end of 2016.

“By taking the decision to build the Crafter in Poland, we are setting the course for the strategic realignment of our light commercial vehicles,” Leif Oestling, head of VW’s trucks business, said in a statement.

Shifting production to Poland will allow the German group, which already makes the Caddy and T5 commercial vehicles near Poznan, to significantly reduce its production costs.

Labor costs in Poland’s manufacturing industry amounted to an hourly 6.65 euros per worker in 2012, about a sixth of the 36.98 euros in Germany, according to the Cologne-based IW economic institute.