SAKARYA (Turkey), December 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s GAZ Group, maker of the Volga sedan and GAZelle minivan, has launched a joint venture with Mersa Otomotiv to assemble and sell GAZ’s light commercial vehicles in Turkey, the companies announced on Sunday.
The ceremony of launching the production of GAZelle vehicles in the Turkish province of Sakarya on the coast of the Black Sea was attended by Russian Energy Minister and Chairman of the Bilateral Commission on Economic Cooperation Alexander Novak, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Alexei Rakhmanov and Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Vladimir Ivanovsky.
The Turkish side will invest 15 million euros ($19.5 million) in the joint venture, which is expected to produce and sell about 2,500 vehicles on the domestic market and for exports in 2013. The JV is scheduled to produce 300 vehicles by the end of 2012 and eventually expand output to 3,700 automobiles.
A key advantage of the JV is the price of light commercial vehicles, which will be 15-20 percent lower than the price of its competitors, GAZ Group President Bo Andersson said at the signing ceremony, declining to specify the volume of Russia’s investment in the project.
GAZ Marketing and Sales Director Oleg Markov told reporters GAZ’s light commercial vehicles would cost 38,400 Turkish liras (about $20,000) per vehicle.
At the first stage, the partners plan to assemble GAZelle-Business models with standard and extended platforms.
At the second stage beginning in 2013, the JV will start producing Sobol-Business minivans. At the end of next year, the JV also plans to launch the production of Valdai medium-duty urban trucks.
All of the JV’s light commercial vehicles will be equipped with Cummis ISF 2.8 engines while Valdai trucks will be supplied with Cummis ISF 3.8 engines.