Milliyet – Tofas of Turkey, a joint venture between Koc Holding and Italy’s Fiat, is working on new vehicle models, projected to increase its annual production to 400,000 vehicles per year, according to its CEO, Kamil Basaran. The company is also looking into exporting its Doblo light commercial vehicle (LCV) to the North American market.
The entire technical work on two new passenger vehicles is done at Tofas in Turkey, Basaran told the press, confirming that one of the vehicles was a B- or C-segment sedan without providing details about the other. The company will hold all the patent and intellectual rights for both cars, just as it does in Doblo and Minicargo LCVs, Tofas CEO told reporters. Sedan type vehicles are hot sellers in the Turkish market. Both models are expected to enter the market in 2015 after the final approval in July and will be available for export as well.
Currently exporting vehicles to more than 80 countries, Tofas is near the completion of a feasibility study to expand its reach to the North American continent. The Doblo model will hit the streets in the US and Canada by late 2014 when its adaption to the specific market needs is finished, Tofas CEO said. Tofas will supply the model to the North American market under the ‘Chrysler Ram” brand, as a part of a deal signed between Fiat and the Chrysler Group in 2011. The total investment cost for the standardization of the Doblo for the North American market is about USD 160 million. “We expect to export at least 20,000 vehicles to North America annually..”, Basaran noted.
Known for its high quality and cost-effective production operations, the Tofas Bursa plant is one of Fiat’s key production centers, currently manufacturing Minicargo-based LCVs for a number of European automotive companies, including Opel, Citroen, and Peugeot.