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News of  April 25, 2001


Ford Otosan Dedicates New Commercial Vehicle Plant In Turkey

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Photo: Ford

KOCAELI - The new Ford Otosan commercial vehicle plant at Kocaeli, on the Izmit Gulf 105 kms east of Istanbul, was officially opened by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz in a ceremony attended by Ford President and CEO Jacques Nasser and Rahmi Koc, Chairman of the Koc Group, which includes Otosan, Ford's Turkish partner. 

$650 million has been invested in the new plant, the largest ever single investment in the Turkish automotive industry. Production of the Transit began at the plant in January 2001 and a second vehicle line - a light van - will be added in mid 2002. 4000 employees will be employed at the site when full capacity is reached. 

Transit production at Kocaeli is aimed principally at the Turkish market, which last year was the second largest market for Transit (after the UK) while the new light van is destined mainly for export to other European markets. 

Deputy Prime Minister Yilmaz said, 'This is a very important investment for the Turkish economy bringing new jobs and valuable export earnings. It also demonstrates the faith of two major industrial groups, Ford and Koc, in the future development of Turkey and its growing importance in the industrialized world.' 

He also thanked Ford Otosan for the help given to earthquake victims in the region, following the 1999 disaster. Ford Motor Company and Ford Otosan together contributed more than $2.5 million to the region to build 116 new homes for families left homeless after the earthquake. 

Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jacques Nasser said, "The Kocaeli plant represents a significant strategic investment for Ford Otosan. The Turkish market and the surrounding region offers major growth potential, despite short term economic difficulties." 

"The plant will produce two key products, the Transit and a new light van which are vital to our product led recovery in Europe. We are also confident that the new plant will help us to consolidate our market leadership in commercial vehicles and support our growing presence in the overall vehicle market in Turkey," he said. 

The total vehicle market in Turkey in 2000 was 643,000 vehicles. Ford sold 72,685 vehicles in 2000, comprising 30,259 cars representing 6.6% of the market and 42,426 commercial vehicles or 23% of the market. 

Ford Otosan is a joint venture between Ford and the Koc Group, each with 41% share, with the remaining 18% shareholding held publicly on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The joint venture has its headquarters in Istanbul and employs over 3700 people, including the new plant. The fully integrated operation includes sales and marketing, engineering, manufacturing and parts distribution. The Koc Group has had a distribution agreement with Ford since 1928 and Otosan has manufactured Ford products in Turkey since 1959. 

Since 1977 Ford Otosan has had a manufacturing plant at Inonu, 300 kms from Istanbul, where Cargo trucks are assembled and engines and transmissions are produced. Another plant in Istanbul produces the prior model Transit. Vehicle production at the Istanbul plant is due to cease at the end of 2001, with the capacity transferring to Kocaeli. The Istanbul plant is land locked and unsuitable for expansion. 

(20 April, 2001)

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