To Turkey or Bulgaria? The discussion on this does not seem to be ending in Wolfsburg. Where should the Volkswagen Group locate its long-planned new multi-brand plant? Better in Bulgaria, because EU membership promises more legal certainty? Or is Turkey more promising in the end, because it attracts a larger sales market?
For about a year now, Volkswagen has been thinking intensively about these issues. But it is precisely at this time that something very important has happened in the world car market: the automotive industry is no longer a growth industry. Sales in the US, China and Europe are down. There are profit warnings across the industry. The VW Group has also taken out more than 400,000 cars from the production plans for the current year.
Why is a new plant being discussed at VW at such a time? Just looking at the German works makes it clear that the discussion is going in the wrong direction. At the main plant in Wolfsburg, there is a risk that annual production will move from 700,000 to 600,000 cars. The production target of one million vehicles, which was planned a year ago, seems unattainable now.
The Audi plants in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm have also been underutilized for a long time. The Group management will soon have to come up with something to ensure that these two important locations still have a secure future. And not only in Germany, but also at foreign locations such as Brussels or Bratislava, the capacity utilization is no longer guaranteed.
So the Volkswagen Group would have better things to do today than to think about a new plant in Bulgaria or Turkey. It would be clearly more important to use the existing plants properly with the help of realistic model planning.