Ford JV plant in Turkey begins shipping electric E-Transit van to Europe

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Koç Holding, is now shipping the all-electric E-Transit cargo van to customers in Europe, Ford said Thursday.

The launch of E-Transit production at Ford Otosan's Gölcük plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, follows the February start of deliveries to customers in the U.S. from Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri.

The move marks the start of mass production after customers in Europe had placed over 5,000 orders before the E-Transit began rolling off the assembly line in Kocaeli, Ford said. 

“Ford Otosan’s Kocaeli plant is the heart of Transit production in Europe, and this celebration of E-Transit manufacturing starts the electrified next chapter in our already strong partnership,” Hans Schep, general manager of Ford Pro in Europe, said in a statement. “This is the first step in a transformation of the Kocaeli site which will see it become a major centre for electric commercial vehicle manufacturing in Europe.”

First E-Transit models ready to ship from Ford Otosan’s Gölcük plant in Kocaeli, Turkey

E-Transit launches under the umbrella of Ford Pro, Ford's standalone commercial vehicle business. 

Ford Otosan is investing 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) and hiring about 3,000 employees to boost production capacity for future electrified Ford models, including the next-generation Transit Custom model.

Last month, Ford announced some key advancements in its electrification strategy in Europe, including the introduction of seven new all-electric passenger vehicles and vans by 2024, as well as a new venture to boost EV battery production in the region. Ford, Koç  and SK On Co. have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding for a JV in Turkey that would establish what the companies are calling one of the largest EV battery facilities in the region.

The JV would be based near Ankara and would manufacture battery cells. Production is slated to start as early as mid-decade, with annual capacity expected to range from 30 to 40 gigawatt hours. 

Meanwhile, Ford said last month it will add four new electric models to its commercial vehicle portfolio in Europe: the all-new Transit Custom one-tonne van and Tourneo Custom multi-purpose vehicle in 2023, then the smaller, next-generation Transit Courier van and Tourneo Courier multi-purpose vehicle in 2024. 

Those models will be built in Craiova, Romania. Ford Otosan is slated to assume ownership of that operation.

Ford expects its annual EV sales in Europe to exceed 600,000 units in 2026. The automaker is targeting zero emissions for all vehicle sales in Europe by 2035.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski