Turkey’s competition authority launches probe into five German automotive companies

The Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) has launched an investigation into five German automotive giants for violating competition laws in Turkey, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

The probe into Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW arrives as Volkswagen scrapped plans to build a car factory in Western Turkey, citing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on auto markets.

The TCA said that findings were sufficient to start a probe based on claims that the companies cooperated in matters of security and environment and shared competition-sensitive information, according to Anadolu.

Plans for Volkswagen’s 1.3-billion-euro ($1.4 billion) facility were suspended last year after the Turkish government ordered troops into Syria to target U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the battle against Islamic State. The German carmaker announced it had abandoned plans to build the factory on Wednesday.

The company was in the late stages of negotiations with the Turkish government to build the facility, which would have been the largest investment in the country’s ailing automotive industry in over 20 years.

Turkish production in motor vehicles dived by an annual 91 percent in April as domestic demand declined and exports almost grounded to a halt.