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Turkey’s Erdogan Orders Officials To Start Driving VW Passats

Many top officials in Turkey will switch their Audis out for new VW Passats.

Following the VW Group’s decision to build a new factory in Turkey, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told his top lieutenants to start driving VW Passats, Bloomberg reports.

Erdogan reportedly ordered top officials of the ruling AK Party on October 1 to move to the Passat once their current rental contracts expire. Initially, this will only see 19 rental cars at the ruling party’s headquarters swapped out for Passats although people familiar with the matter state that it will set a precedent and example for thousands of other party officials who could also be encouraged to get new rides.

Top executives from the government currently use Audis and the rental contracts on these cars are tipped to expire in roughly two months.

Volkswagen’s new Turkish production facility will build the next-generation Passat and Skoda Superb from 2022. The factory is located 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Izmir on Turkey’s western coast and will have a maximum annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles. VW’s decision to open up this factory will create around 5000 jobs at the factory and surrounding suppliers according to a senior Turkish official.

It is reported that roughly two-thirds of the 300,000 production volume will be for the VW Passat. Most Passat and Superb models built at the site will be exported internationally.

Turkey has a low car density of just 150 cars per 1000 inhabitants and in the first seven months of this year, the nation’s domestic car market dropped by nearly half to 212,605 vehicles from the 481,982 vehicles sold over the same period two years earlier.

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