Volkswagen within two weeks of Turkey factory deal, board member says

German carmaker Volkswagen is very close to an agreement with the Turkish government to build a factory in Turkey.

The company is in final talks that could be successfully completed in two weeks or less, board member Andreas Tostmann told reporters in Berlin, according to Reuters and the German media.

The factory, employing nearly 4,000 people in Manisa in western Turkey, will cost more than 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) and manufacture 300,000 cars a year, Reuters said. It would produce the VW Passat and Skoda Superb models, which are almost identical, the news wire said, citing sources close to the firm.

Volkswagen and Turkish officials have been in talks over the new plant for several weeks, with an agreement reportedly snagged over high tax rates that Turkey charges on new car purchases. The investment is a controversial one because Turkey’s human rights record has deteriorated under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Construction could start at the end of next year and production begins at the start of 2022.

Turkey is seeking to attract foreign investment to its economy, which suffered a currency crisis last year. Sales of new cars have plummeted.