Ford is to build a new all-electric Ford E-Transit Custom van at its Ford Otosan plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, along with the next generation Ford Transit Custom range and versions of the Volkswagen mid-sized van.
Production for the new models will begin in the first half of 2023 with electric versions of the Transit Custom and an electric Ford Tourneo Custom due to follow later that year. The plant will also manufacture plug-in hybrid vans, mild-hybrid variants and diesel combustion models.
“The next generation Transit Custom range –including the all-electric versions –will strengthen Ford’s position as Europe’s number one commercial vehicle brand,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe.
Ford has already committed to electrifying its entire commercial vehicle range by 2024 and expects two-thirds of its commercial vehicles sales to be from electric or plug-in hybrid models by 2030.
Volkswagen is yet to confirm its plans for electrification of its commercial vehicle range beyond the current range of models which include a limited production Volkswagen e-Crafter van, as well as the ABT-made Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter 6.1. An electrified version of the Caddy van, called the Volkswagen ABT e-Caddy, has yet to be developed as early concepts were based on the Volkswagen Caddy 4 which has since been replaced by the new fifth-generation Volkswagen Caddy Cargo. There is also the Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo, VW's own electric vehicle based on the MEB electric platform that is being shared with Ford to make passenger cars.
Ford Otosan will invest €2bn into the Kocaeli plant with increased capacity and a battery pack production facility. Engines for the new Ford Transit Custom 2023 model will still be supplied by Ford’s Dunton site.
The partnership with Volkswagen will see Ford produce commercial vehicle variants of the iconic Volkswagen Transporter under the agreement, while it is thought that passenger carrying vans as well as the hugely successful range of Volkswagen California camper van conversions will remain as wholly Volkswagen-made products. Under the agreement, Ford will also produce the new version of the Volkswagen Amarok which will be based upon the all-new Ford Ranger.
“Commercial vehicle growth and leveraging partnerships such as our joint venture with Ford Otosan are key enablers to Ford of Europe’s future success. We are committed to reaching our 6 percent EBIT margin goal as part of Ford’s plan to turnaround our global automotive operations,” added Rowley.