Volkswagen may construct a new factory in Serbia to build a handful of its vehicles, led by those from the Skoda brand.
See News reports that the German car manufacturer may shutter its Solomonovo production facility in Ukraine due to poor economic conditions in the country. This site builds the Audi A4 and A6, Skoda Fabia and Octavia, and the Seat Leon, Altea and Toldea. Annual production capacity at the factory sits at 45,000 units, but the site only made 4,000 vehicles in 2016.
Owner of the general importer of Skoda cars to Serbia, Milenko Kostic, told local publication Vecernje Novosti that Volkswagen and Skoda management have enquired about the country with him.
“Due to the situation in that country [Ukraine], the expected results have never been achieved. The potential arrival of Volkswagen would be a fantastic news for our country and economy.
“They asked me about the average salary, the training of the workforce, about everything related to business conditions,” Kostic said.
The Volkswagen Group has been pushing for a new multi-brand factory in Eastern Europe for quite some time and Skoda is expected to take the lead at the site. Speaking with Auto News, Skoda chief executive Bernhard Maier said the car manufacturer had four candidate countries in mind for the factory but declined to list them.
If VW goes through with a plant in Serbia, it will likely need to acquire 300 to 400 hectares of land for the site. Kostic said that the only suitable locations for such a large factory would be near the city of Nis and in the northern autonomous province of Vojvodina.
Serbian president Aleksander Vucic is particularly keen to secure a Volkswagen factory and will have a meeting with representatives from the automaker later this week.
“Serbia is the strongest, the most stable, and the best country for Volkswagen compared with all friendly countries interested in this investment — Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and one other country,” Vucic said.