Turkish Ford Connects to the US

According to reports from Turkish news agency Sabah, Ford is to start marketing the Transit Connect in the United States. Initially, supply will come from the Kocaeli plant, home of the JV between Ford Otosan and Koç Holdings, and Turkish-built Connect models will be made available to US customers during 2007. US production of the Transit Connect is due to commence in 2009. Interest in the one tonne sector seems to be developing apace in the US. Chevrolet's HHR panel van is not far away from production, whilst Dodge recently showcased a van version of its Nitro SUV. Trailing a possible Dodge Vito we wonder?

Tata, Iveco and now Renault?

More mystery surrounds the exact nature of the relationship between Tata and Iveco as a result of this piece in the Times of India. The report, which suggests that Tata is to use Renault’s Trafic van platform in order to produce a three tonne passenger / commercial range, allowing it to plug the gap between its recently launched Ace one tonne product and the heavier duty 407 van.The three-way alliance between SAIC, Tata and Fiat becomes yet more confused. Leaving aside passenger car business for a moment, it would appear that Iveco and SAIC are now well wedded, but the more obvious Iveco – Tata relationship is far from consummated. Indeed, with the exception of a joint strategy in Latin America – in itself a strange move given Iveco’s existing reckonable business in both Brazil and Argentina – there appears to be no obvious move towards consolidating the efforts of Tata – one of the world’s biggest CV manufacturers and indigenous to one of the world’s biggest potential CV markets – and Iveco – in itself a not unreckonable force in the CV business.Post Ashok Leyland, Iveco has no presence within India at the moment. It – and any other CV manufacturer – probably needs one. So why the absence?Is Iveco’s future as a part of the Fiat Group still uncertain? We can think of no other reason for the delay in sorting a Tata-Fiat relationship out. Certainly, there are one or two other European CV OEMs sniffing around a piece of the Indian giant – DaimlerChrysler for one – and so you’d have thought that Turin would have been keen to nail this deal down. That it isn’t suggests – possibly – that it might be keen to have an unencumbered Iveco ready to take to market at some point in the not too distant future.