Tofas to develop electric Doblo engine with Arcelik

By Evren Ballim

BURSA, Turkey, July 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Turkish automaker Tofas
(TOASO.IS: ) will develop the engine for an electric version of
Fiat’s Doblo vehicle with Arcelik (ARCLK.IS: ) and be ready for
production by mid-2011 if demand rises, Tofas said.

Tofas, in which Fiat (FIA.MI: ) and Turkish conglomerate Koc
Holding (KCHOL.IS: ) each own 38 percent, plans to sell the car to
European markets and could export it to the United States in the
future, Tofas’s chief executive, Ali Pandir, told reporters.

Turkey’s automotive sector, the heart of its export
industry, was hit last year by the sharp slowdown in key export
markets in Europe and also weak domestic demand.

“Because we are the base for light commercial vehicle
production and research and development, Fiat assigned the
electrification of these vehicles to us,” Pandir said.

The cost of the electric Fiat Doblo EV prototype is put at
20 million euros ($25.75 million) and an investment of 5-10
million euros could be required for the manufacture of some
500-1,000 vehicles a year depending on demand from Europe.

“We will develop the electric engine together with Arcelik.
Arcelik have know-how on the subject of electric engines and we
have vehicle technology,” he said.

Turkey’s Arcelik is a household appliances manufacturer and
Europe’s third-largest white goods maker. Conglomerate Koc owns
some 40 percent of the company.

“We target mid-2011 for production (of the electric car),
but it depends on market conditions,” said Tofas research and
development director Kemal Yazici.

Tofas has for now shelved plans to export the regular Doblo
to the United States due to market conditions, but could export
the electric version if the market grows, Pandir said.

Tofas posted a net profit of 118.3 million lira in the
first quarter, more than three times higher than the previous
year’s profit, as its markets recovered from last year’s sharp
decline.

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($1=.7766 euros)
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

Tofas to develop electric Doblo engine with Arcelik