Ford's long-standing joint venture with Koç Holding in Turkey, Ford Otosan, has opened the largest R&D centre in the Turkish automotive industry. The new centre also is the largest single-site R&D centre of any industry in Turkey, Ford says.

The new Ford Otosan Sancaktepe R&D Centre is located in Istanbul. Construction work commenced in July 2013, and the total investment in the new centre is US$25m (Turkish Lira 68m).

"Today, Ford Otosan is the only Turkish automotive company that has the capabilities and the infrastructure to design, develop and test a vehicle from scratch to a commercial product," said Ali Y. Koç, Koç Holding Board Member and Chairman of Ford Otosan.

"Ford Otosan is focusing its engineering prowess on developing advanced technologies so that it can provide all of its export markets with the most competitive products. R&D is very important to the Koç Group, and the Ford Otosan Sancaktepe R&D Centre is a prime example of our belief in the potential of our people to innovate and create new products," said Koç

The new 38,000 square metre Ford Otosan Sancaktepe R&D centre will initially be home to 1,200 R&D personnel, rising to 1,450 during 2015, and will have expertise in vehicle and body engineering, chassis and electrical systems engineering, and powertrain engineering. It also has Turkey's first CAVE virtual reality system.

"Ford Otosan is an integral part of Ford's One Ford global product development team, and the engineers from Turkish engineering schools working at Ford Otosan in this new facility are among the best-educated and most proficient in the world," said Barb Samardzich, vice president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe.

"The new Ford Otosan Sancaktepe R&D Centre will help to build that level of experience and skill base even further, enabling Ford Otosan to make an even bigger contribution to the global auto industry by making the most of its opportunities in the future," added Samardzich.

Ford Otosan celebrates its 54th year in 2015. It exported 192,000 vehicles to the value of US$3.5 billion in 2014. Ford Otosan also sold 94,000 Ford vehicles in Turkey last year. Turkey isnot an EU member but enjoys a customs union with the EU which means tariff-free exports to the EU market - something that has attracted substantial investment in the auto sector there.

Ford Otosan directly employs 10,000 people in Turkey, and operates three vehicle assembly plants and an engine plant.  

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