Auto groups PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat on Oct. 3 said they had launched a new production line for vans made by the Turkish manufacturer Tofas. The new production line will make 158,000 vehicles, of which 105,000 for PSA. Investments in the new line come to 380 million euros (US$539 million), of which half is for research and development.
Called Peugeot Bipper, Citroen Nemo and Fiat Fiorino, the small vans have been developed jointly by PSA, Fiat and Tofas. The new vehicles are expected to be on sale at the end of the year in Italy and Turkey and then in the first quarter of 2008 in the rest of Europe.
During the launching Christian Streiff, the chairman of PSA Peugeot Citroen, said that the new van would extend the company's coverage of the utility vehicle market. Fiat head Sergio Marchionne said Fiat intended to sell more than 500,000 vans by 2010, against the 400,000 expected this year. The chairman of Tofas, Ali Pandir, said the launch would lead to the creation of 2,700 new jobs this year, bringing the workforce at the site to 8,000 workers.
Turkey's industry and trade minister Zafer Caglayan described it as a "historic turning point" for the Turkish automobile industry.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007