Volkswagen is postponing their final decision on building a new factory in Turkey as international criticism of the country’s military operations in Syria is growing.
“We are carefully monitoring the current situation and look with concern at current developments,” a Volkswagen spokesman said to Reuters. The VW Group has already established a subsidiary in Turkey, saying they were in the final stages of negotiation and that a final decision on the factory was still pending.
VW’s new Turkish factory is planned to produce the next-generation Passat and the Skoda Superb, with a maximum annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. According to previous reports, production launch was scheduled for 2022.
The current VW Passat is being made in Emden, Germany, but VW plans to convert the facility into an EV factory. Meanwhile, Skoda is in need of some extra capacity in its Kvasiny plant, where the Superb is currently produced.
The German carmaker was considering either Bulgaria or Turkey for its new factory, but reports suggested that the decision to pick the latter came after strong lobbying from one of VW’s major shareholders, the State of Qatar.
Apparently, Qatar pushed for the factory to be built in Turkey, with VW saying that they chose this location due to its “positive macroeconomic conditions”, as well as its location amid emerging markets.
The European Union intends to limit arms exports to Turkey while US President Donald Trump announced heavy sanctions on the country, due to the ongoing military operation in Syria.