Hürriyet – US automaker Ford’s Turkish unit Ford Otosan, a JV between Turkey’s Koc Group and Ford Motor Company, is building its third vehicle manufacturing plant in Turkey which will considerably increase its production capacity as it aspires to raise its exports to the US market.
The new plant under construction in Golcuk, Kocaeli, adjacent to the existing facility, will churn out 110,000 vehicles per year once operational in 2014 and take the company’s total annual production capacity in Turkey up to 450,000 vehicles. The company plans to start the production of the new Transit model light commercial vehicle (LCV) in 2013, according to the company’s Director General Haydar Yenigun, who also hinted of a new model of LCV currently under development.
“After unveiling Tourneo Custom Concept at the last Geneva Motor Show, we plan to complete the preparations for the new Transit’s production, slated for early 2013. The other LCV in prototype stage is scheduled to enter production in 2014 with the commissioning of the new plant. Apart from these three models, there is also another model of LCV which is in its early stages of design”, Yenigun spoke of Ford Otosan’s plans for the near future.
The year 2013 will see the end of production of Transit Connect in Turkey, a hugely popular vehicle in the US market, as Ford restructures its production operations in Europe. The company’s factory in Spain will take over the production of Transit Connect, with all the design, engineering and support elements provided by Ford Otosan. The company’s responsibility goes as far as setting up the production lines for Ford’s factory in Spain.
Although the end is near for Ford Otosan’s export hit, Transit Connect, the company’s upcoming two models are likely to keep the worldwide interest up and the production lines open. The Tourneo Custom and the as-yet-unnamed LCV to enter the market in 2014 are two contenders for the US market, not to mention more than 60 countries which the company currently exports to.
“Ford Otosan is the only Turkish company with automotive exports to the US market”, Yenigun remarked about the historic event of exporting motor vehicles from an overseas Ford plant to the company’s home country. “We have no intention of leaving the US market” he added.
Ford Otosan shipped the 100,000th Transit Connect from its Kocaeli plant to the US in early April. The company’s total investments in Turkey for the new plant and vehicles amount to USD 1.1 billion, spread over the next 3 years.