Ford Otosan, a joint venture between the American automaker and Turkey’s largest conglomerate Koç Holding, has started mass production of its all-electric Transit model through an investment of 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion). million) to increase capacity.
The first E-Transit, which the automaker says is Europe’s strongest and Turkey’s first all-electric commercial vehicle, rolled off the assembly line at a ceremony Thursday at Ford Otosan’s Gölcük plant in the province. northwest of Kocaeli.
Ford Otosan thus became the first major car company to produce a fully electric vehicle in Turkey in large volume, and the E-Transit model will be sold in Europe and produced at the company’s Gölcük plant.
Ford Otosan will increase the factory’s annual vehicle capacity from 455,000 to 650,000 with the €2 billion investment announced in 2020.
An assembly line will be set up to produce at least 130,000 batteries at the factory.
“We are in the first stage of Ford Otosan’s €2bn investment announced last year and its 10-year vision,” Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said.
“Today, we are talking about a rapid transformation in the automotive industry. By 2030, 30% of the world’s vehicles will be electric and connected vehicles,” he said at the ceremony.
Varank also said that Turkey is among the 14 manufacturers globally with its production power in the automotive industry.
“Our country aspires to take most of the electric vehicle market.”
On Thursday, the automaker said it is now shipping the first production units of the E-Transit van to customers across Europe from the Ford Otosan factory.
Following strong initial demand for E-Transit from European companies, Ford Otosan said it is now moving towards full mass production.
Ford officials said more than 5,000 orders had been received for the all-electric vehicle, which is now being sold in Europe. Sales of the vehicle in the domestic market will also begin this year.
“Ford Otosan’s Kocaeli plant is the heart of Transit production in Europe, and this celebration of E-Transit manufacturing kicks off the next electrified chapter in our already strong partnership,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro Europe. .
Schep said this is the first step in transforming the Kocaeli site, which he said will see it become a major hub for electric commercial vehicle manufacturing in Europe.
Also at the ceremony, Ali Koç, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Koç Holding and President of Ford Otosan, said that the production of Ford Europe’s first electric commercial E-Transit model in Turkey by Turkish engineers and workers “is the result of industrialization movements that have been growing step by step since the early years of the Republic of Turkey.”
Koç said Ford Otosan’s recent investments have a common purpose, which is to further increase Turkey’s competitiveness on a global scale today and in the future.
“In this direction, we plan to make our automotive industry one of the most important and indispensable players in the global production network together with our constantly developing subsidiary industry ecosystem.”
E-Transit is the all-electric version of the world’s best-selling cargo van and the new vehicle spearheads the launch of Ford Pro to European customers with an integrated offering of connected vehicles, software and services.
For his part, Güven Özyurt, CEO of Ford Otosan, said that the production of E-Transit at its Kocaeli plant, where electricity is supplied with 100% renewable energy, “is a source of pride for us and another point of turning point in our growing role in Ford’s electrification strategy.”
“We believe the electrification of the legendary Transit model is a major step forward and an important step in making Ford Otosan the production base for Ford electric commercial vehicles.”
To meet demand for future electrified Ford models, Ford Otosan is investing €2 billion and expanding employment by around €3 billion to increase vehicle production capacity, including the next-generation Transit Custom model.
Ford’s shift to an all-electric future in Europe was also highlighted by the recent announcement that Ford, Korean battery maker SK On and Koç Holding have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a new leading joint venture in the industry in Turkey.
Subject to a final agreement, the three partners plan to create one of the largest electric vehicle battery installations in the wider European region. Production is expected to start in the middle of the decade, with annual capacity likely to be around 30 gigawatt-hours to 45 gigawatt-hours.