The Volkswagen Group may abandon its plans to build the next Passat at its planned €1.3 billion factory in Turkey, according to a new report.
Industry journal Automotive News Europe says sources told sister publication Automobilwoche the German automaker could shift Passat production to Bratislava, Slovakia, where it builds various models like the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7.
VW has reportedly paused progress on Turkish investment "amid international criticism of Turkey's military operations in Syria".
A decision needs to be made relatively soon, however, as the company initially planned to have the Turkish plant in operation from by October 2022, according to the report.
The Bratislava plant produces the aforementioned Q7 and Touareg, along with the Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne SUVs. Additionally, it's currently the site for Volkswagen Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo micro car production as well.
Automotive News Europe claims micro car manufacturing will be phased out due to slowing sales in the segment, which should free up capacity for production of the popular Passat mid-sizer.
It's also reported VW supervisory board member, Stephan Weil, is opposed to the plans for Turkish production – Weil is Prime Minister for Lower Saxony, Volkswagen's home state, which has a 20 per cent stake in the German brand.
The facility would have an annual output of 300,000 units, and commence operations in 2022. It was planned for the plant to be an export hub for the Middle Eastern and Russian markets.
Currently, the Passat is assembled in Embden, Germany, which is earmarked to be converted into VW's main electric vehicle factory.
Pictured: 2020 Volkswagen Passat