The so-called “Seven Sisters” (the seven established European brands, namely Mercedes-Benz, MAN, Iveco, Renault, Scania, DAF and Volvo) could be in for a wake-up call in the form of Ford Trucks.
Ford trucks are produced by a company called Ford Otosan, which was established in 1959. The company is owned by Ford Motor Company and Koç Holding, the largest industrial conglomerate in Turkey.
I have been spending quite a bit of time with this company (which, sadly, has no plans to enter the South African market just yet) and I have come to realise that it is a major player within the world of commercial vehicles.
It employs more than 11 000 people and produced 440 000 commercial vehicles, 75 000 engines and 140 000 powertrains last year, achieving total revenue of US$ 6,9 billion (R90,5 billion). In addition to producing Ford trucks, it manufactures the Ford Transit, Courier and Custom.
The company’s facilities in Turkey sound truly impressive. Its heavy-vehicle plant in Inonu, for instance, measures a whopping 1,1-million square metres! Ford Otosan is also proud of its new test centre and test track, fully automated cab production line and paint shop, which all opened last year.
While it dominates the Turkish market (Ford trucks are as much a part of Turkish life as Turkish Delight), the company also has ambitious plans for Europe. In fact, it wants to take on the Seven Sisters and it is launching a new premium tractor at the IAA in Hannover later this year, which may well do just that.
I have seen photographs of the as-yet unnamed truck (they are subject to strict embargoes) and I can reveal that it looks decidedly European. The design is modern and imposing, and the truck looks robust and powerful.
I have yet to sit inside the truck. However, the powers that be at Ford trucks assure me that it will boast good quality materials throughout. Visibility is said to be outstanding and the interior will boast lots of storage areas and a driver-centric layout.
A variety of engines will be up for grabs, including a top-of-the-range 373 kW (500 hp) powerplant.
I will be driving the truck at the end of August. I will also attend the global launch at the IAA, and will be able to share more details then, but, at this stage, it looks extremely promising…
In other news from Ford Trucks, the company has announced that it is developing its very own in-house transmission, which will make its debut in 2020.
I get the feeling that we will be hearing a lot about Ford Trucks in the future…