Russian OEM, Gaz Group, and Turkish car manufacturer, Mersa Otomotiv, have begun manufacturing the Gazelle Next light commercial vehicle (LCV) in Turkey. This is the first series assembly operation of Russian Euro V-compliant LCVs outside of the country. 

Assembly from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits will take place in Sakarya, and next year the plant is scheduled to make 3,000 LCVs. Some components, including propeller shafts, wheel discs, batteries, and braking system components will be purchased from Turkish manufacturers, while other components and parts will be imported from Russia. A spokesperson for Gaz said that the Russian components will be taken by road to ports of exit and then shipped by ocean to Istanbul. 

The spokesperson also said that investments by Turkish partners totals €20m ($25.2m). Gaz is contributing production technologies, and training of production staff and dealer employees. 

Twenty-four dealer centres and 38 certified service stations have been established across seven regions in Turkey. 

Gaz has already obtained the unified European vehicle type approval to sell its Next commercial vehicle in the European Union. More widely, its commercial vehicle export share has grown from 13% to 18% over the last two years, thanks to a sales increase in Russia, Southeast Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. 

Oleg Deripaska, chairman of the Basic Element supervisory board said: “[Gaz] is investing around $375m into development of the Next light commercial vehicles and light-duty trucks product portfolio. All the developments are taking into account the export market requirements. Export development is one of the key focuses of the Gaz Group strategy. It motivates the automotive companies to engineer high tech products and ramp up production.”