Ford to Partner on Battery Plant in Turkey

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Ford's E-Transit Van. (Eric Perry Photography)

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Ford’s Turkish partner will join forces with the U.S. automaker’s battery venture to build one of the world’s largest battery plants by 2025. Stocks rose.

Koc Holding AS, Turkey’s biggest conglomerate, signed an initial accord to be part of the joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and South Korea’s SK Innovation Co. to make electric car batteries, according to public filings by the companies.

The plant, the first in Turkey, is part of a push by Ford to produce 2 million electric vehicles a year by 2026. Demand for its first electric vehicles is emboldening the automaker to ramp up production and raise sales expectations. Its Turkish partnership with Koc expects batteries produced at the new plant in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, to power models including Ford’s Transit commercial vans.

The project is “the first in a number of significant electrification and commercial vehicle announcements we will make this year,” said Stuart Rowley, Ford Europe’s chairman.

The companies didn’t say how much investment will go into the Ankara plant, which will have capacity to build 30 to 45 gigawatt hours of batteries.

Haydar Yenigun, CEO of Ford Otomotiv Sanayi AS, the Istanbul-based joint venture that makes commercial vehicles, said the company made long-term agreements with battery cell suppliers for its electric vehicle production, and it could buy batteries from the Ankara plant as well as Hungary and Tesla Inc.’s new plant in Berlin.

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Ford Otosan already was set to boost annual production capacity to 650,000 from 455,000 with a 2 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) investment plan. The output eventually will rise to 900,000 units per year after the company announced an agreement March 14 to buy the Ford Motor Co. plant in Romania for 575 million euros. The company will finance 75% of the acquisition through bank loans while the remainder will be from its equity, Yenigun said.

Koc Holding rose as much as 5.6% to 33.6 liras on the news, the most since Feb. 25, and Ford Otosan rose as much as 9.4% to 266.9 liras.

Ford and SK On, an SK Innovation unit, announced plans last year to spend $11.4 billion to construct three battery factories and an assembly plant for electric F-Series pickups in Tennessee and Kentucky, the biggest investment in the U.S. automaker’s history.

Ford plans to have 240 GWh of global battery capacity by 2030, with 140 Gwh coming from joint ventures with SK, according to a public filing by the South Korean company. The remaining 100 GWh will be sourced from Europe and China, including the proposed plant in Ankara, the filing said.


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