Sabah – Turkish-Italian JV Tofas, established by Turkey’s Koc Group and Italian Fiat, is preparing to ship the first batch of the Fiat Doblo-based commercial vehicle to the North American market late this year. The Doblo model, already being exported to more than 80 countries worldwide from Tofas plant in Bursa, Turkey, has undergone a significant redesign for the North American market at an investment cost of USD 360 million.
Having acquired the Ram ProMaster City name, the Doblo-based vehicle will compete in the small van category, becoming the second Turkish-manufactured motor vehicle to hit the streets in North America following Ford’s Transit Connect. Ford Otosan, also partnered by Koc Group, shipped Transit Connects to Ford’s home country between 2009 and 2013 until production of the model shifted to another Ford plant. Ford Otosan remains the parts supplier for 176,000 Transit Connects sold in the North American market.
Tofas plans to export 175,000 of Doblo-based light commercial vehicles to the North American market in the 2014-2020 period. The model is perfectly suited for small businesses and taxi fleets. The Ram brand belongs to US auto maker Chrysler which is wholly owned by Fiat.
Home to manufacturing plants of global brands such as Fiat, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Renault and Hyundai, Turkey is a major manufacturer of motor vehicles in Europe with over 1 million vehicles produced annually.