Dünya – South Korea’s Hyundai and Ford Motor Corp of USA are increasingly relying on Turkey as a manufacturing and research & development (R&D) base as announcements from the two key companies of the global automotive industry reveal. Hyundai’s manufacturing operations in Turkey, consisting of the i20 hatchback and the soon-to-be-added supermini i10, will be supplemented by an engine production plant and a R&D center, according to Hyundai Turkey’s Director General, Umit Karaaslan.
Emboldened by the free trade agreement signed between Turkey and South Korea last June and generous investment incentive scheme in place in Turkey, Hyundai is taking steps to expand its investments in Turkey, Karaaslan said. “Preliminary studies on setting up an R&D center and engine production in Turkey are underway. Hyundai is ramping up investments in its Izmit plant to increase its annual production to 200,000 vehicles and add a new class of supermini model to replace the i10 in 2013..”, he said, adding that the combined worth of the investments in Turkey to be made by Hyundai and four of South Korea’s leading spare-part suppliers will reach USD 1.1 billion.
Hyundai’s plant in Turkey’s western province of Kocaeli holds the “highest quality production facility” title among all Hyundai plants across the world. If given the go ahead, Hyundai will become the third global auto maker to have a R&D lab in Turkey in addition to Ford and Fiat.
US car maker Ford, active in Turkey as JV formed with Turkey’s Koc Holding under the name of Ford-Otosan, is also prepping up to add new models to its production line in Turkey. “Ford Turkey is the only business in Ford’s European operations that is not posting losses…” Ford Otosan Director General, Haydar Yenigun remarked. The company is building its third manufacturing plant in Turkey in Golcuk, Kocaeli, adjacent to its existing facility producing light commercial vehicles (LCVs) for more than 60 countries. The plant to be built at a cost of about USD 250 million, is expected to be operational in late 2013, the same year the company plans to start the production of the new Transit LCV.