GAZ Group and Mersa Otomotiv have announced the official opening of an assembly facility and the market launch of GAZ light commercial vehicles in Turkey. The project includes the SKD assembly of several models of GAZelle BUSINESS and Sobol BUSINESS light commercial vehicles, as well as the creation of a distribution and service network in all regions in Turkey.
The Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation A. Novak, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation A. Rakhmanov and Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey V. Ivanovski took part in the official ceremony for the launch of GAZelle production in the Turkish province of Sakarya.
At the first stage of the project the partners are planning to start the assembly of GAZelle BUSINESS drop-side trucks with standard and extended platforms, with single and double cabins, as well as various specialty vehicles on GAZelle platform. At the second stage, in 2013, the production of Sobol BUSINESS – drop-side modification and panel van – will be launched. The assembly of Valday medium-duty city truck is planned to begin at the end of next year. All light commercial vehicles will be equipped with Cummins ISF 2.8 diesel engines, and Valday – with Cummins ISF 3.8 diesel engine.
GAZelle BUSINESS sales in Turkey will start in the Marmara Region, which makes up 46% of the light commercial vehicles market in Turkey. Ten GAZ Mersa Otomotiv dealerships will open in the region by the end of the year. It is planned that the number of dealerships will increase to 16 (one in each region of the country), and the number of specialized service stations to 32 (in all cities with a population over 500,000people) by the end of 2013.
Bo Andersson, GAZ Group President/CEO said: “Our cooperation with Mersa Otomotiv is a long-term project, which marks the beginning of the implementation of GAZ Group’s export strategy. We are sure that the high economic efficiency of our vehicles, their suitability for severe conditions of operation in the commercial transportations segment, high payload and maneuverability will be highly appealing to Turkish customers. At the first stage of the project we will focus our efforts on the establishment of a flawless production system, and distribution and service network in all the regions in Turkey”.
Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Russian-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation said: “I am glad to attend the opening of the GAZ light commercial vehicles facility in Turkey. The GAZelle production launch is the first experience of Russian automakers entering export markets over the last years. Entry in export markets proves the competitiveness of Russian vehicles and their conformance to the highest international standards. I am sure that this project will form the basis for long-term cooperation in the auto industry between the two countries”.
Aleksey Rakhmanov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation said: “Turkish companies are actively entering the Russian market with their investment projects. And now it’s time for this product which is trusted by millions of Russians to enter the Turkish market in its new capacity. I am pleased to note that GAZ Group’s production in Turkey is starting with a certain share of local components. Sakarya province is called the Turkish Detroit: the largest international automotive brands have their facilities in Sakarya. And GAZ Group also has big prospects here”.
GAZ Group (www.gazgroup.ru) is Russia’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. The Company produces light- and medium-duty commercial vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, buses, cars, powertrain and automotive components. GAZ Group is the leader in the commercial vehicles market in Russia with about 50% in the LCV segment, 58% in the medium-duty trucks segment, 42% in all-wheel-drive heavy-duty trucks segment, and about 65% in bus segment (data as of 2011). The controlling shareholder of the Company is Russian Machines Corporation, part of Basic Element business group. The headquarters of GAZ Group are located in Nizhny Novgorod.