Ford’s Turkish Van Drives Into US Market


By Gordon Platt

Ford Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor of the US and Koç Group, a leading industrial conglomerate based in Turkey, exports its products to more than 60 countries. Soon after the company’s fuel-efficient Transit Connect van was introduced in the US last year, it won the 2010 North American Truck of the Year award. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a roughly $210 million, five-year loan to Ford Otosan to support the production of future Transit models at the company’s Kocaeli plant in Gölcük, on the east coast of the Sea of Marmara. “This is an important investment expanding Ford Otosan’s backward linkages with its suppliers,” says Michael Davey, the EBRD’s director for Turkey. “The EBRD is considering further direct support for Ford suppliers under the scope of the project.”

Ford Otosan’s Future Transit project involves an investment of $630 million over three years. “This project is a testament to Turkey’s competitiveness and manufacturing capability in the global automotive industry,” says Nuri Otay, Ford Otosan’s general manager and operations head.

Ford Otosan is a leader in the Turkish automotive industry, with a 15.1% market share in 2009. Ford Motor and Koç Group each hold a 41% stake in the venture, with the remaining 18% traded publicly on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

In 2007, Ford Otosan opened an engineering center in Gebze to develop new products. A second Ford Otosan plant in Inönü, in central Anatolia, produces engines and the Ford Cargo truck.