VW is planning a factory on the Balkans

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Especially Bulgaria and Serbia hopes to be able to the announced the VW investment to “Eastern Europe” curls. In both countries the personnel costs are low. Tempting also other trumps.

A blast, an economic Kickstart, to be the! Such and similar are the Serbian and Bulgarian media beat for days. It’s going to be a billion investment by the German auto giant Volkswagen (VW). The approximately 1.4 billion Euro heavy investment to bring 5000 people into work and the domestic exports to 4.5 billion euros a year to strengthen.

Since VW has announced last November a new multi-brand plant in “Eastern Europe”, in addition to Bulgaria and Serbia, Romania, Turkey, and Macedonia hopes. On DW-question it is so far from Wolfsburg: “Currently, there is no decision for a location.” The media speculate that VW will be set in April, the first cars from the new plant is intended to run in 2023.

Space for electric cars in Germany create

The German car toying Bauer with South-East Europe. This fits in with the announcement that specialize root works in Zwickau, Emden and Hannover in the future, for the production of electric vehicles. The production of the VW Passat was already moved to the Czech Republic. In order to create space for the Passat, the two models Škoda Karoq and Seat Ateca soon to be new from the factory from the Balkans.

Czech Skoda Factory In Mlada Boleslav

“The Central reason is the staff are, of course, cost. There are much lower than in Western Europe,” says Stefan Bratzel of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). Even countries such as Poland or Hungary might not come back due to rising wages in question. “The second important point is the energy cost. The third is that the network of local suppliers,” stresses Bratzel in the DW-interview.

In Serbia you get your hopes up, to be in all respects at an advantage. The average wage in the country is less than 500 Euro net per month. The potential investors are lured with generous subsidies, tax breaks and government investment in infrastructure. In addition, a number of German automotive suppliers in Serbia are already located, for example, the cable specialist Leoni, or ZF Friedrichshafen.

“The qualified staff is always crucial. The factory is easy to build,” says the Serbian car expert Mladen Alvirović in a television interview. With the trained work force of Serbia could trump also, because of the Italian Fiat group has for years in a modern factory in Central Serbia. “These workers are a good base for any carmaker,” Alvirović.

The help of the state to decide?

However, the Bulgarian government is confident, that your country makes the race. A few weeks ago VW had been representative in Sofia, and the talks were already very advanced, so a high-ranking representative of the ruling party, does not want to be called. Politicians and experts in Sofia expect that the EU membership of Bulgaria was an advantage in the race with Serbia.

“This is enormously important,” says the German car expert Bratzel. Although Serbia, as an EU candidate country customs already operates largely free trade with the EU, the EU membership Were simpler rules and a more straightforward and component replacement. “But will not necessarily mean that VW will decide for the EU country of Bulgaria. You have to wait and see,” said Bratzel.

New plant in Serbia or Bulgaria? VW wants to produce in German plants and more electric cars

Mitko Vasilev, chief of the German-Bulgarian chamber of Commerce and industry believes that the politicians in Sofia and Belgrade are ready to dig deep into the state Treasury to lure VW. “The Bulgarian side will surely do everything possible to create good conditions for investment. However, the EU rules are to be observed,” says Vasilev, in an interview with DW. “On the other hand, Serbia is not an EU member, and the rules to limit state aid, will not be interpreted so strictly.”

The potential business could change the “blood of our economy,” says Serbia’s head of state, Aleksandar Vučić. The Populist has developed from groundbreaking to the whole strategy. Similar as in the neighbouring countries present in Serbia politicians as those who had most to thank personally for the investment. For the political Propaganda of a VW factory would be a blast.