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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 30, 2014
Business & Economy
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Volkswagen to Build New Plant in Poland
April 30, 2014   
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German automaker Volkswagen will spend zl.3.4 billion (800 million euros) on a new factory in the western Polish town of Września, Wielkopolska province.

The new Volkswagen plant will produce the latest generation of the Volkswagen Crafter van, creating over 2,300 jobs. The company announced its plans March 18 in Poznań, the biggest city in the Wielkopolska region. Leif Östling, a member of the Volkswagen management board, described the plant as the largest project in Volkswagen’s recent history. “I am convinced that the facility will manufacture products of the highest quality that will be marketed around the world,” said Östling.

Poland’s Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechociński, who attended the Poznań ceremony at which the plans were announced, said the Volkswagen project was a sign of the corporation’s “trust in Poland and Polish people. Along with new technology, Volkswagen is bringing tremendous international experience to Poland, with huge potential to enter global markets,” said Piechociński.

The factory in Września will roll out 85,000 vehicles a year with plans to further increase annual production to 100,000 by 2019.

Jens Ocksen, a member of the Volkswagen management board, said construction of the new factory was scheduled to begin this autumn and the first vans would be rolled out in the final quarter of 2016. The facility in Września will occupy 220 hectares, including around 300,000 square meters of indoor space, and comprise a body shop, a paint shop and an assembly line.

Volkswagen had been considering several locations in Poland and Europe. “Out of the many places we considered, we chose Września for its proximity to transportation routes and excellent human resources,” said Ocksen, adding that Volkswagen was further encouraged by the Września Business Activity Zone established in the area. The new plant will be built 4 kilometers from the A2 freeway and 60 kilometers from the international airport in Poznań-Ławica. The construction project will also see a new road, parking lots, a fire station and a special training center being built.

Września has a population of just under 30,000. Unemployment in Września county reaches 16 percent. The plant is seen as a major boost for both the county and the entire Wielkopolska region, as every job in the automotive industry is said to generate another four in related sectors.

According to Paweł Gos, an expert from the Polish Chamber of the Automotive Industry and the CEO of Exact Systems, a provider of quality control systems for the automotive industry, by choosing to build its new van factory in Poland, Volkswagen has shown that this country and its car industry are attractive to global automakers seeking locations for new projects. One of Poland’s biggest advantages over other countries is its well-developed market, with 600 plants manufacturing spare parts and car components, which ensures lower transportation costs and a more reliable supply chain. Among other arguments that encourage investors to choose Poland, Gos pointed to the numerous tax incentives available in special economic zones. “At the same time, foreign investors are drawn by qualified staff who cost less to employ than in Western Europe,” said Gos. “But it would be wrong to describe Poland as a ‘low-cost country.’ A ‘best-cost country’ is a more fitting term, as Poland offers the best price-to-quality ratio for the automotive industry.”

As far as Września is concerned, the decision to build a new plant there may have also been prompted by Volkswagen’s positive experience with its facility in Antoninek near Poznań, 50 kilometers west of Września. The Volkswagen plant in Antoninek, which employs 6,500, has for 10 years manufactured Caddy and Transporter vans. Last year alone it produced over 170,000 delivery vans.
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