11/28/2011

Turkish auto industry shifts into high gear in employment

Hurriyet - Despite the financial crisis looming over Europe and directly affecting the global automotive industry, Turkey’s automotive sector is moving forward with new investments and steadily rising employment figures.

Auto producers in Turkey have created 4,000 new jobs in 2011 and are set to increase this number even more in 2012, unlike most of their Europe-based peers that have begun laying off workers in anticipation of a slowdown in European markets.

The Turkish automotive industry’s record-breaking performance in the last two years is bringing in more investment from producers like Ford, Fiat, and Toyota, who are revamping their product lines and adding new models to be manufactured at their Turkish plants.

US-based Ford Motors, which operates under the name of Ford Otosan in Turkey, has announced plans to produce two new LCV models over the next two years. The company has expanded its workforce by recruiting 1,000 new workers, taking the total number of employees to more than 10,000. Ford’s investments in Turkey for the two-year period are expected to reach EUR 1 billion.

Turkish-Italian JV Tofas, formed by Italian car maker Fiat and Koc Group of Turkey, is also seeing continued growth even though the Italian company faces hardships in its native Italy. Having rolled out its first LCV made for the Opel/Vauxhall brands last week as part of a deal between Fiat and Opel, Tofas is set to begin exporting LCVs to the US market in 2012 under the name of Chrysler RAM. The company will continue to recruit new workers in 2012 for the two production deals, which amount to some EUR 300 million.

Japanese car maker Toyota is in the process of restarting its sedan production in Turkey at an investment cost of EUR 150 million. The company plans to raise the production levels in its Sakarya plant to 210,000 cars per year, creating 400 new jobs.

Another Asian automotive company, Hyundai, is also expected to announce a major increase in investment and jobs at its Turkish plant. If the plans go ahead, the South Korean company will add the i10 hatchback to its production line in Turkey, a move that will more than double the production capacity at its Kocaeli plant, requiring at least EUR 400 million of new investment and creating a thousand new jobs.
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