Fiat's Turkish partner, Tofas, unveils plans for N.A. van exports, new cars
ISTANBUL -- Fiat's Turkish partner, Tofas, disclosed plans to export the Doblo small commercial van to North America and also said it is working on two new passenger cars for local and export markets.
Chrysler Group will market a Ram-badged version of the Doblo.
"Tofas has completed its study for plant and research and development for Doblo exports to North America," Tofas CEO Kamil Basaran told reporters in comments published on Sunday. "We are planning to export the Doblo at the end of 2014. We can expect 20,000 units once we start," he said.
Basaran said Tofas will disclose details of its two new cars in July. The cars, a compact sedan and a compact hatchback, are set to go on sale after 2015. They will replace the Fiat Linea built by Tofas at its plant in Bursa, northwest Turkey, since 2007.
Tofas will own the patent rights for both cars which are expected to be sold under the Fiat brand, Basaran said.
"There was previous mention of a new model, but this is the first time a time frame is mentioned," said Esra Suner, vice president of research at Is Investment in Istanbul.
Tofas is seeking to diversify its export markets as a sharp slowdown in key markets in Europe limits its growth prospects. The company is targeting total annual sales of 270,000 vehicles, 160,000 of them for export, and is planning to invest 130 million euros in products, plants and R&D this year.
Tofas expects a flat domestic market this year compared with 2012 with 750,000 vehicles and a 13-15 percent market share, said Fiat Turkey Brand Director Okan Bas.
Fiat and Turkish conglomerate Koc Holding each own 38 percent of Tofas.
The Turkish government is pressing local companies to produce fully Turkish-developed and built car. Turkey has become a production hub for Ford Motor, Hyundai, Toyota and Renault and Fiat. About one-third of cars sold in Turkey are made in the country by international manufacturers.
Ford exports the Transit Connect small van to the United States and Europe from its joint venture with Koc Holding, but is transferring production of the van to a Ford factory in Valencia, Spain.
Reuters, Bloomberg and Luca Ciferri contributed to this story