U.S. automotive giant Ford Motor Company and German carmaker Volkswagen are in talks for a strategic partnership that would see the latter move the production of some of its commercial vehicle models to Turkey.
Reports also suggested that the two companies may also produce electric and autonomous vehicles at each other’s plants in order to cut costs.
As part of the partnership, Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles Crafter and Transporter might be produced at the Ford Turkey plant in the Marmara district Gölcük, where Ford manufactures its Transit and Custom models, according to a report by BloombergHT.
Commenting on the news, Ford Otosan General Manager Haydar Yenigün said: “Ford and VW have been negotiating joint vehicle development and production for a while. The two sides have not finalized a deal yet. They will make an announcement very soon once the negotiations are done.”
Sources in the sector said that the VW Transporter, which is the equivalent of Ford Custom, and Ford Transit’s VW equivalent Crafter, will be manufactured on the Ford assembly line. VW is expected to shift the manufacturing of 150,000 to 180,000 commercial vehicles per year to Turkey.
Experts said that producing Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles in Turkey will revive the sector significantly. In 2017, Turkish car making plants manufactured 552,825 commercial vehicles. It produced 439,644 vehicles during the January to October period this year.
Ranked among the three largest Turkish exporters since 2005, Ford Otosan runs manufacturing operations in the northern Marmara districts of Gölcük and Yeniköy as well as in the central Anatolian district of İnönü. The company also has a research and development (R&D) center in Istanbul.
Ford Turkey is Europe’s largest commercial vehicle production base, making around 440,000 vehicles and 75,000 engines in 2017. The company has a 67 percent share in Turkey’s total commercial vehicle production.
Volkswagen is working to transform the production at its Emden, Zwickau and Hanover plants into manufacturing bases for electric vehicles in a bid to become Europe’s largest electric vehicle producer.