According to a couple of people familiar with the matter, Volkswagen is considering building a new factory in Poland to begin assembling the Crafter large delivery van.
The German group, which already makes the Caddy and T5 commercial vehicles near Poznan, would reduce production costs significantly if it also assembles this model in Poland.
Labour costs in Poland’s manufacturing industry amounted to an hourly 6.65 euros ($9.16) per worker last year, about a sixth of the 36.98 euros in Germany, according to the Cologne-based IW economic institute.
One of the sources, which declined to be named because the matter is confidential, said a decision to build a new Polish vehicle plant hasn’t been taken yet, though all signs are pointing in this direction. VW said it has been examining possible production sites for the Crafter in a number of countries as it nears the end of its co-operation agreement with rival Daimler, which has built the Crafter in Germany since 2005.
The outsourcing of Crafter production to Poland would require approval from VW’s supervisory board, which is evenly split between the labor union and management. Labor is unlikely to stir up tensions, however, after the board’s approval last month of almost 40 billion euros of spending on VW’s German factories as it steps up its efforts to surpass Toyota and General Motors as the world’s biggest auto manufacturer by 2018.